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I'm administering a system and do not want people messing with their system settings (specifically the power settings).

I've searched everywhere and cannot find a method for disabling the power settings from system settings.

The gnome-system-tools package didn't contain any options for restricting access to system settings or power settings.

Using Raring Ringtail.

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I would assume that the ability for non-privileged users to modify system settings is granted by policykit actions, but I am not certain this applies to things like power settings. – thomasrutter Jun 13 '13 at 10:30
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Changing permissions to 700 for /usr/bin/gnome-control-center would help you restrict the normal users gain access.
However that goes out for all the settings, and users wont be able to set other settings like the display or keyboard.

Another good way is to define user group and change the ownership of gnome-control-center to those groups. and then add the permissible user to the group. the full description is here.

We have done is created groups with certain admin privileges and managed centrally using/etc/sudoers where in entries are whitelisted and provided on need basis.
For example:
Including the line :

$admin=ALL=(ALL) ALL `!/usr/bin/gnome-control-center`
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Note that clever users will still be able to use other tools to change their settings. With gsettings, for example. If you restrict access to that, then users will be able to do what gsettings does, ad infinitum. So this method does work, but only for users who don't know how to get around it. – Robie Basak Jun 13 '13 at 11:24
@RobieBasak That is absolutely correct, however here we are trying to avoid users making stupid mistakes. Anyone with an intent will surely be able to change what he wants. – karan Jun 13 '13 at 11:29

Gnome Control Center loads all of the applets that have .desktop files in /usr/share/applications. It does not complain if some applets are missing.

Once you have the settings you need in place, the easiest way to keep the applet from showing in the Control Center is to just rename the corresponding .desktop file.

sudo mv /usr/share/applications/gnome-power-panel.desktop /usr/share/applications/gnome-power-panel.desktop.original

This will also prevent users from running the applet in isolation since the renamed file will not show up in Dash searches.

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I get a file not found. Where is gnome-power-panel located? – Kevin Duke Jun 13 '13 at 19:07
@kevin-duke Sorry, I had mentioned the location /usr/share/applications above, but since I normally cd to a folder before running these kind of commands, I forgot to include it in the command. I added it to the answer. – chaskes Jun 13 '13 at 19:18

If you want to forbit an user or a group to open the system-control-panel then edit /usr/bin/gnome-control-center

Here is an example (User 'user' may not start center):


# User 'user' may not start the systemsettings
if [ $USER = "user" ]; then
    exit 1;

# from here on is the original file!
# Support legacy applications that still refer to gnome-control-center in Unity
if [ "$XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP" = "Unity" ] && [ -x /usr/bin/unity-control-center ]; then
  exec /usr/bin/unity-control-center $@
  exec /usr/bin/gnome-control-center.real $@
# End of file`
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You could install


and there configure a "blacklist", which programs should be not for general use.

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This seems really inefficient for such a simple task even windows 2000 has. Is there really no other way? – Kevin Duke Jun 13 '13 at 10:10
Why voting me down ?! I am NOT kidding you ! ninja is a full-featured Linux tool ! Nothing to do with Windows. You can read more here: – dschinn1001 Jun 13 '13 at 13:14

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