Change default desktop - or "clone" existing desktop?

We want to set up a number of X terminals connected to a Linux server
running Gnome 1.4.  We need individual logins for mail access, but want
to be able to give each user a simplified desktop setup.  We tried using
cp -R to copy all files from the home directory of a user configured the
way we want to a new user.  (We remembered to change to ownership of all
the copied files.)  Gnome did not recognize the copied configuration.

How can we copy desktop setups?  If this is not possible, how can we
change the default desktop?  

<flame resistant suit>
Finally, can we disable or hide access to desktop configuration for
users so configured?  This is a "kiosk" mode with logins, and user
support is a big problem if the menu options and buttons are not exactly
as we configured them.  We are talking non-computer-literate users. 
("OK, now look for a picture of a footprint.  See it?  Good.  Now press
the left mouse button.  Do you see the line that says programs?  OK, now
move the mouse .....")
</flame resistant suit>

Stuart D. Gathman <stuart bmsi com>
Business Management Systems Inc.  Phone: 703 591-0911 Fax: 703 591-6154
"Confutatis maledictis, flamis acribus addictis" - Mozart background
song for the Microsoft "Where do you want to go from here?" commercial.

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