Posted by: kurtsh | November 23, 2007

BETA: Windows SteadyState 2.5, now with Windows Vista support

Windows SteadyState 2.5 is a set of software modules that install over Windows XP or Windows Vista that essentially help lockdown the interface of Windows desktops for usage as kiosks or training workstations.  Additionally, and most importantly, the workstation captures all modifications to settings and software that are permitted by the administrator and sets them aside on a separate partition of the machine.  When told to do so, the workstation can completely eradicate these modifications and otherwise reset itself back to a pristine state. (This is known as Windows Disk Protection)

In other words, a workstation will "reset itself" in seconds, without requiring re-imaging.  The idea is to basically create a disposable, minimally trashable workstation that the public can do anything they want to, and not cause any actual problems for the workstation administrator.  Cool ‘eh?

The new 2.5 version has a number of major features in it, the most prevalent of which are functional compatibility with Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7.0.  I have a couple customers that are using this right now and they find that it trumps the usage of virtual machine software like VMWare Workstation or Virtual PC 2007 because it’s easier to orchestrate and manage centrally, and it requires virtually no instruction of the students or the lab instructors.  No one has to learn any new software.

It’s a godsend for educators and folks managing public workstations, like PCs at libraries.


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