If you're sharing a single XP machine with multiple users, and more than one person is currently logged on, you will receive the following message when you try to shut down the computer:
Shutting down XP is a dramatic event because all recent changes to open files can be lost. During a normal shutdown, therefore, XP tries to store any recent changes to the hard disk before powering down. For example, if you choose Start | Shut Down with a Word document open, XP will ask if you'd like to save your document first.
If any other users are logged on, though, they will not enjoy this courtesy. A user working on a Word document, for example, will lose any unsaved changes. That user's programs are closed, and recent changes are subject to loss when the system shuts down.
Therefore, it can be of great benefit to restrict shutdown ability to just a single useryou. Let's say, for example, that the kids also have a user account because they use the computer for homework and games, but you don't want them to be able to shut down the computer. You can achieve this goal with a Group Policy setting.
To do so, follow these steps:
You see the dialog box shown in Figure 3-7. By default, only members of these groups have permission to shut down: Administrators, Users, Power Users, and Backup Operators.
Figure 3-7. Limit the ability to shut down with this Group Policy Setting.
The Users group is all-inclusive, including both your account and the kids' accounts. To limit users who can shut down the system to just yourself (assuming you're the administrator), make sure that you remove the Users group from this list and that other users of the computer are not in any of the Admins, BO, or PU groups. Alternatively, you could just remove groups, with the exception of the Administrators group, from the list.
And now, the disclaimer: in the previous chapter, I mentioned that Group Policies are not supported on XP Home computers. Therefore, you can't restrict system shutdown on an XP Home system.