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I am providing IT support for a grade school which has a computer lab equipped with PCs running Windows XP Professional. Often after class, we find the desktops messed up. For example, the browser's settings are changed. Desktop shortcuts are removed. Is there a way to restore the desktop to a common set of conditions when logging in?

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migrated from Apr 8 '11 at 2:25

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

Windows SteadyState was perfect for this, but Microsoft has discontinued distributing and supporting it.


How to article


Microsoft handbook for SteadyState 2.5


Get a copy of SteadyState here, not sure how long it will be available for download.

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More than a few applications that can accomplish this... Faronics Deep Freeze, FileStream SafeShield and HorizonDataSys DriveVaccine are a few. SteadyState is a nice free option but it was discontinued in 2008.

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First of all, your users shouldn't be administrators (I'm sure they're not...just stating the obvious). Assuming that's the case, there's not much they can do outside of their own profiles. So setup a good default profile and script the deletion of any user profiles at startup using delprof.

Your other option is to use one of the many tools out there to freeze the hard drive. I'm not a huge fan of those tools though. I can't say that they haven't caused me headaches at times.

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I suggest you use a combination of Group Policy and mandatory profiles to lock down the machines. The tools jb mentioned are definitely worth a look too. I've seen Deep Freeze in action and it's fantastic.

Are these machines part of an Active Directory?

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