I am finalizing development of a desktop Java application that communicates with an outside web server, and now I need to start seriously considering deployment.

This application will run on a large touchscreen all-in-one workstation running Windows 7.

It will be located in a public-area and thus must be LOCKED-DOWN Hanibal Lecter style. Early in the project nobody really concerned themselves with this fact just assuming that we can buy some magical software for Windows 7 that will automatically take care of all this, however I am finding now that this looks to be a LOT more complicated than my manager ever thought.

I need to: - Lock down the standard hot-keys (ALT+TAB, ALT+CTRL+DEL, etc...)

  • Prevent the user from opening ANY programs other than the kiosk application and its spawned executables

  • Prevent the user from closing the application

  • Start the kiosk application on startup (this can be done without kiosk software)

  • Auto-login to Windows on reboot (Windows Updates, power failure, bratty kid pressing the power button, etc...)

  • Administrator passcode escape sequence for routine maintenance by desktop support professionals.

To my dismay I am having a really hard time finding software that contains the whole package and am finding numerous swaths of competing information on the best way to do this. I am not necessarily looking for free or open source software and am willing to pay for software that can help me achieve this.

Have any of you ever wrote kiosk software before and if so what approaches have you taken to do this?

  • 1
    Consider using linux, and asking on SuperUser
    – Malfist
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 18:15
  • @Malfist, Wish I could, the kiosk has attached peripheral device that the manufacturer does not provide a linux driver for. Windows 7 is unfortunately mandatory (Also, writing linux device drivers is a little bit beyond my expertise).
    – maple_shaft
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 18:33
  • Is it even possible to lock down CTRL+ALT+DEL? I was under the impression that Windows would prevent you from doing so, to prevent a keylogger or such from grabbing passwords when switching users and such.
    – Thorn G
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 18:39
  • @Tom G, I don't think it is possible without a registry edit. Software like TweakUI does something to this effect.
    – maple_shaft
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, I cannot answer your question on its entirety, but you should be able to use a program like AutoHotKey to "hijack" certain key combinations and change the behavior to simply do nothing.

The AutoHotKey script can be placed in the Startup folder to ensure they're always in effect.

  • Thats hot! If I use this for the obvious key combos, I can also use this to stop Alt+F4 I can prevent closing the application as well. In the application I can code a key combo to bring up an admin dialog that allows the app to be shut down. The only thing remaining is automatically login to a specific limited user account on reboot. I wonder if this can be done with a Group Policy?
    – maple_shaft
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 19:04
  • Thank you for introducing me to AutoHotKey!!! :)) This has to be one of the coolest apps I have ever used. It is so insanely useful!
    – maple_shaft
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 16:20

Public Web Browser by Team Software might be your solution. I have used it in public libraries for years. Try if free and then the license is really inexpensive. Then build your kiosk around it.

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