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We have a bunch of public computers at our school and would love the ability to do basic computer management from our Windows Server 2003 machine. All the others are Windows XP Pro. Things like deleting old profiles, etc are the tasks. Any ideas?

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I don't understand. Why don't you just connect to the remote computer as an admin and manage them as you would any other? –  John Gardeniers Mar 3 '10 at 20:40
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3 Answers 3

If you're doing a "small implementation at a school", I think you should really look into something Linux-based like LTSP or some of the "kiosk" linux varieties. I've setup a few web-browsing-only machines this way, it works very well, you don't need to worry about viruses or users getting past their privileges, you can lock down anything you want with fine-grained controls (Kiosk Tool for KDE) and can administer them via SSH or just use scripts.

If you're just looking for public internet access computers, why spend the money licensing Windows and the associated software? All you need is a way to get a browser...

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by that logic, if you are just looking for internet access why spend hours trying to figure out how to lockdown an unsupported copy of linux (and praying someone that knows more about it than you do doesn't find what you've missed) when you can install a copy of the most popular OS on the planet and lock it down with steadystate disk protection and be done (not includimg the download times and XP install this takes about 15 mins). –  Jim B Mar 4 '10 at 2:08
    
I was just offering a suggestion that perhaps an alternate option should be considered. There are many possible tools for a given job. If you want a 15 minute solution, sure, Windows might be the best. I'm just saying that there are other options, some of which can be infinitely customized for a kiosk setup, and locked down with near-infinite granularity (without even having to worry about antivirus or anything like that). BTW, a hammer is the popular tool bought at a hardware store. While it might open your watch, I wouldn't want to try it. –  Jason Antman Mar 4 '10 at 18:03
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You could even use a PC with no local disk. You wouldn't have to prevent changes to the HDD because there wouldn't be one. –  twopoint718 Apr 25 '11 at 16:20
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What you really want is Windows Steadystate . It's designed specifically for shared computers.

You can listen to this runas radio podcast about how the product is used and implemented.

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Sounds overkill for a small implementation at a school, but that product is pretty sweet! Thanks for the link I'm going to have to check that out. –  Webs Mar 3 '10 at 21:28
    
It's not overkill at all. It's easy to set up. –  Jim B Mar 4 '10 at 1:59
    
We used steadystate for quite a while, but it gave us trouble. –  user17670 Mar 4 '10 at 14:55
    
what happened with your steadystate implementation? I've implemented it about half a dozen times now (even back when it was the windows shared computer toolkit). I can't think of a way it would break, since at it's core it effectively re-images the machine on reboot. –  Jim B Mar 4 '10 at 15:34
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If you are referring to computer systems that allow for open public Internet surfing, I would recommend following these links...

http://sourceforge.net/projects/boothbox/

http://www.webs05.com/2006/10/06/boothbox-project-recompiling-the-kernel.html

The first will get you started downloading Boothbox. A Free Open Source Internet Kiosk. The second link is a post I wrote with a guide I wrote to help one work with Boothbox. My actual document is missing from my website, but I will try to correct it tonight.

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