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Stephen Rose - Sr Community Manager - Windows Client IT Pro

Steady State for Windows 7

Steady State for Windows 7

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A few years ago we developed a tool called Windows Steady State to enable IT admins in shared computing environments to control configure and revert the configuration computer of computers used in schools, libraries, internet cafes, kiosks as well as other public and shared computing locations.

Steady State was designed to work with Windows XP and Windows Vista, and was a really popular toolkit because it made it easy to do things like automatically  discard all changes to a system that users may have made on the PC, lock down the desktop to control what Windows applications a user could use as well as control what Windows settings that users might be able to change.

Think about a large group of PCs that might be used in a public library. Because these PCs are accessible for use by anyone, you probably wouldn’t want users to be able to change the desktop appearance, reconfigure system settings or install unauthorized applications or malware, or add documents or files to the system. Windows Steady State made it quick and easy for admins to define the types of controls they wanted to place on what  users could do, as well as to completely reset the desktop to a pristine state later.

A Windows 7 version of Steady State was not created and we’ve heard loud and clear from IT Pros that this is something they wanted and needed.  After we evaluated the types of functionality Steady State provides, we found that using new Windows capabilities that are built into Windows 7, Group Policies and free tools from Microsoft, the majority of Steady State functionality could actually be replicated by IT admins.

We have just released a whitepaper along with an accompanying document that describes Group Policy settings that you can use to configure computer and user settings and also a reference excel worksheet which can be used to look up and filter the settings described in the whitepaper.

We think that most customers will be able to take advantage of this set of whitepapers  reference guidance to recreate the Steady State experience.

Visit the Manage Windows 7 Zone on the Springboard Series on TechNet for more information on how to lock down and manage Windows 7 in your environments.

Let us know your thoughts – enjoy!

Comments
  • combining System Restore with mandatory user profiles can almost completely reset a computer between each user session.

    almost completely reset a computer

    almost completely

    almost

    =) Thanks for the whitepapers! I have to look into this.

  • with this approach we loose the ability to install hotfixes and service packs with out reversing. I have about 2000 shared machines, about 20000 users, all with their own username and password. We reimage all the machines every 3 months to keep them up to date and clutter free. That is a real pain.

    The thing that I have learned about steady state is that I can have a user login and log out and i will get dx/dt = 0, for all changes made by that user. I can just have network logon to one local account on the machine and never have to worry about it. Never worry about malware bypassing the AV or unforseen ocurence that would render a system useless.

    Oh wells

  • Why is microsoft going backwards... this is the most retarted thing i have heard of, a functional technology that was working in a previous version replaced by white papers and group policy.

    Very annoying and time consuming.

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