Windows SteadyState- Powerful tool to Protect Shared Computers
If you manage shared, standalone, or workgroup computers — such as those in schools, Internet cafes, libraries, or even your home then at the end of the day your shared computer is in a state of –
- Hard disk filled with downloaded files
- Strange options configured
- Programs installed that you don’t want
- System infected with viruses and spyware
- Computer bogged down for unknown reasons
Now here is free tool from Microsoft to end all your worries Windows SteadyState (formerly Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP). With this you can manage user accounts centrally with Microsoft’s SteadyState. On the right side of the window, all user accounts set up on the system are listed under ‘User Settings’ with the exception of the one that is currently being used. Click on the desired account. You can now access the account settings via the ‘General’, ‘Windows Restrictions’,‘Feature Restrictions’ and ‘Block Programs’ tabs. Options that cannot be accessed directly have been explained in the English manual that can be downloaded from here .
This program has some very useful features such as the ability to protect your hard drive with three options. Remove all changes at restart, retain changes until a certain date or retain all changes permanently. Other important features it contains is the ability to make the system not save passwords, prevent write access to USB devices, remove the Shutdown options, prevent users from creating folders on C:\ and much more
1. Creating User Accounts and Configuring User Settings–
With Windows SteadyState, you can create user accounts and apply the restrictions and settings that comprise the shared user profile. The restrictions and settings range from removing menu options and features from Windows XP or Windows Vista and available applications, to limiting a user account’s ability to access specified applications or Web sites.
2. Configuring Computer Restrictions
To help ensure the privacy and security of those who use the computer, you can configure restrictions that apply to the entire computer, including the user accounts you just created.
3. Scheduling Important Updates
You can schedule software updates using Windows SteadyState to ensure that updates are downloaded successfully and are not removed from the computer when Windows Disk Protection is turned on.
4. Protecting the Hard Disk
You can enable and install Windows Disk Protection to help protect the partition on which the Windows operating system is located from being permanently modified between user sessions. Windows Disk Protection ensures that the computer returns to a pre-defined state at each restart.
5. Exporting User Profiles
After you have created user accounts and applied the preferred restrictions and settings on one of your shared computers, you can export and import the user accounts to all of the computers in your environment that have Windows SteadyState installed.
Windows SteadyState is free for genuine 32-bit (x86) Windows XP and Vista users and can be downloaded from Microsoft Download Center. WGA validation has to be passed before downloading, else use the direct download link to SteadyState.msi. 64-bit operating system is not supported though.