Prevent Users from Unblocking Net Nanny for Windows

It’s trivially easy to get around Net Nanny by simply adding an extension like IP Unblock or Unblock Unlimited. These extensions will also work to get around OpenDNS configured on a router. If you ask Net Nanny about this, they’ll say, “Yup, those extensions completely get around Net Nanny.”

There are posts describing how to disable extensions, suggesting either updating the registry or using the group policy editor to block extensions. I tried both and neither worked to block extensions on Edge. I would have been happy to uninstall or disable Edge, but this didn’t work either. The home edition of Windows doesn’t include the group policy editor, but I was able to download and install it. However, disabling extensions with the group policy editor also didn’t work!

Finally I came up with the strategy of disabling access to the Extensions folder. This works! When I attempt to install an extension it now fails because the system doesn’t have access to the folder. Here’s what happens when I attempt to install “Unblock Unlimited” on Edge:

To do this, you need to:

  1. Make sure that the user you wish to block does not have Windows administrator rights. A user with admin rights will be able to easily circumvent Net Nanny.
  2. Log in with an Administrator user
  3. Find the path for the extensions folder
    • You can determine the folder for Edge extensions by going to edge://version/. Navigate to the Profile Path to find the Extensions folder.
    • For Chrome the path should be C:\Users[login_name]\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions
  4. The user you wish to block should not be the owner of the extensions folder. You can have the admin user take ownership of the extension folder. Details here.
  5. Right-click the Extensions folder and remove permissions to the folder. Details here.
  6. When you log back in as your regular user (the one you wish to block), you should be unable to change the permissions on the Extensions folder:

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