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Public computer lockdown and revert

posted Jul 10, 2016, 6:24 AM by www integrated
Businesses in hospitality as well as public libraries offering computer access to the public need a way to lock down to a "pristine" or "default" state to which they can easily revert in case of user mess-up or willful malfeasance.

Microsoft used to provide Windows Steady State tool for Windows XP and Vista but that has been discontinued and does not work for later members of the Windows family. A workaround for Windows 7 has been documented, and its principles can be applied to later Windows versions, but it could be too complicated for its target users.

Those Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate users who would rather install a program than do all that work could use SteadierState, while those using other Windows OSs could try Reboot Restore Rx (RRRx).

However, even with RRRx some work needs to be done to ensure that malicious users do not evade its straitjacket as it can be disabled without a password. To do so, one would have to prevent the icon from populating the system tray using a startup manager such as MsConfig or the one in CCleaner. You can then relaunch it by manually browsing to its location (the default is C:\RebootRestoreRx\program files\Shield\shieldtray.exe though you can obviously install it to a different location). Another way a user could remove this protection is by pressing the Home key on boot, which gives access to a special menu allowing uninstall.

Another option is to use a virtual machine, although that presents its own challenges as well, one of them being beefier hardware specs, especially RAM. For Windows, we recommend VirtualBox.