Posted by Lori Ayre on October 26, 2003

The PAC Installer is what the Gates Foundation uses to lock down their computers. Here's what they say about it:

The Public Access Computer Configuration Tool is a software security system designed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for public access computers. You can install it to help keep a computer stable by restricting access to the computer and creating customizable profile environments designed to meet the needs of public computer users without compromising your ability to keep the computer up and running.

One of the nicest features about it is that you can add and remove it from your computer using Add/Remove Programs. This is more manageable than undoing hundreds of registry settings if you've "rolled your own" public access security system.

The PAC Installer was created by the Gates Foundation fairly late in the game and any states that didn't opt for the Staying Connected grants didn't receive information about this utility nor did they receive certain updates. It is available on the website but you have to pretend you are from New York (or another state that participated in the Staying Connected program) to find anything about it.

To find information about the Gates Configuration Tool (aka PAC Installer), go to and search for "configuration tool? and select New York from the State/Location dropdown box. There are lots of other useful papers here about adding printers, copying the children's programs from one Gates Computer to another, replacing defective hard disks, and lots more.

Another useful document I'm making available here because I can't seem to find it anymore on the site is called Installing the Public Access Computer Configuration Tool on a Non-Granted Public Access Computer. The PAC Installer can be installed on non-granted public access computers running either: the Windows 2000 Professional operating system with Service Pack 2 or later installed; or the Windows XP Professional operating system. It's a great way to add another Gates computer to your inventory.

Download the PAC Installer (2MB) here: pac_installer.exe