What do I need to do to get a Windows machine ready to be used by public visitors with eye tracking and/or a touch screen?

asked 13 Aug '14, 19:44

phyatt's gravatar image

phyatt ♦♦
accept rate: 8%

This scenario is most used when you are setting up eye tracking in a public display scenario. You have some screen with information that can be navigated by a user without their hands, and maybe some aspects of it may use a touch screen or some other input, too.

This may overlap a lot with setup of a AAC device, too.

DISCLAIMER: Disabling Windows Update and other updates may introduce security vulnerabilities to your system over time. Following the guidelines here, does NOT make your system impervious to hackers, viruses, etc. But for use with a desktop-local program, there may be less risk involved. If general internet browsing and download almost never occurs, you will likely avoid most sources. Please seek the advice of a competent IT professional if you have concerns about it. EyeTech is not responsible for malware, hacking, and other problems that may result from this guide.

The short version is:

  • Turn off updates and any software that tries to update itself.
  • Disconnect the WiFi and network cable if possible.
  • Turn off any scheduled maintenance and scans or set the maintenance/scans to happen at night.
  • Make sure that the computer automatically logs into Windows without prompting for password or pausing
  • Add the main software that should be running to the startup routine
  • Disable any screensavers, or power management that would turn off the computer or computer screen

The long version is:

Assuming that you maintain a network connection, you will want to disable any sort of popup or something that could restart the computer or disable the computer. Here is a number of steps that apply to most Windows 7, 8 computers.

Modify Windows Update Settings

Go to Windows Update > Change Settings

And change the drop down to: Never check for updates (not recommended)

Modify Action Center

Go to Action Center > Change Action Center settings and uncheck Windows Update along with all the Maintenance messages.

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Modify Bloatware

For the pc vendor specific tools, such as Viao, HP, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, etc, go and either:

Remove all add-on software (bloatware) included on the computer, or

Edit the settings of each one to not connect to perform updates.

Modify Java, Adobe, Apple and Other Background Updater Services/Processes

Now there are a few common tools that may have been installed lately that tend to have updates and pop ups associated with them, too:

Java, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Adobe Air, iTunes, QuickTime.

Open the settings for each of those tools, and also change them to not check for updates.

For example, with Java, go to Control Panel > Java > Update (tab)

and uncheck Check for Updates Automatically.


For Adobe products, open the program and go to Edit > Preferences > Updater > Do not check for updates.

For a number of these things, you can open up msconfig and disable the auto-update utility for each program in the windows start up routine. To launch it, go to Start > Run > msconfig.

Automatically Log Into Windows

To make the computer automatically log in when you restart it, use netplwiz.

Open Start > Run > netplwiz and then uncheck Users must enter a user name and password.


In the event that the checkbox is missing in netplwiz, see the following:


Modify Screen Saver

Now to disable any screen savers:

Go to Control Panel > Personalization > Screen Saver

and change the drop down to None.

Modify Power Options

Go to Control Panel > Power Options

and change the plan to High Performance.

And go into Change plan settings and modify the drop downs to both be Never.

Now go into Change advanced power settings > USB settings > USB selective suspend setting

and change Setting: to Disabled. Then click OK.

For an additional precaution, go to Control Panel > Power Options > Choose what the power buttons do > Password protection on wakeup

and change it to Don't require a password.

Add Program to Startup

Windows has recently made it more difficult to find the startup folder. To easily find it on Windows 8 and 7,

Go to Start > Run > shell:startup. Typing shell:startup will open

C:Users<user_name>AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartup

Now copy in a shortcut to the programs you want to run on startup and you should be good to go.

If the programs require administrative/UAC options on startup, they may not work here. Please see: http://answers.eyetechds.com/questions/17/windows-8-start-up

Limit End User Input and Access

Removing the keyboard and mouse will stop most input on the computer. Touch screens on Windows 7 typically don't allow access to the system, if a full screen application is running that doesn't have an exit button.

Windows 8 has menus that can be accessed with gestures on the edges of the screen, so if you are interacting with a full screen window, and touch is available, you may want to use ideas from the following article or something similar:



Image Computer

If this setup is intended for more than 1 machine, it may be prudent to use imaging software to create an image of the machine, once it is prepped and verified that it is working to an external harddrive, and then to image future machines. This step is beyond the scope of this article. This google search should get you started.



answered 14 Aug '14, 12:34

phyatt's gravatar image

phyatt ♦♦
accept rate: 8%

edited 29 Aug '14, 18:59

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Asked: 13 Aug '14, 19:44

Seen: 3,808 times

Last updated: 29 Aug '14, 18:59

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