In early builds of Windows 7, Guest Mode was dubbed PC Safeguard, but now it's just a feature of the User Accounts setup that an administrator can enable or disable, with one sub-option to control drive access. Guest Mode takes a snapshot of how a PC was working before the Guest account logs on. That user can't do much to alter the system, and whatever they can do, like dropping files on the desktop, is discarded when they log off.
Here’s how to set up a bomb-proof space:
- Go to Control Panel > User Accounts > Family Safety, click User Accounts, choose Manage another account, then either create a new account, or select an existing one. Now hit Set up Guest Mode, and you'll get a basic on/off switch, with some explainers.
- Now, you can head back to the "Set up Guest Mode" screen from the account manager and click the "Lock Drives (Advanced)" link just below the on/off options. The drive Windows 7 sits on is locked by default, but you can go further to prevent users from writing to any of your USB or other connected drives.
- If you're using the Windows 7 beta and want to enable Guest Mode now, however, take heed. Microsoft has issued a warning for the beta saying that doing any of the following while in Guest Mode could kill that account: Change any HomeGroup settings; Use CardSpace to create a personal InfoCard; Install Adobe Flash Player.