Monday, 14 May 2018

How Reboot to Restore stacks up against Windows System Restore

Computers are vulnerable to a diverse range of malfunctions that eventually deteriorate system performance or may even cause a breakdown. These issues are sometimes caused by malware or accidentally due to users’ mistake. Irrespective of the cause, active redressal of such problems is necessary for optimal system performance.

In this regard, Windows has been at the forefront of innovation. It offers a range of inbuilt tools that effectively resolve various system issues. In spite of that, software based on the Reboot to Restore technology has been steadily gaining popularity especially with IT administrators. The technology is preferred mainly in the field of maintaining the configurational health of computers in a multi-user environment such as educational institutes and public libraries. It is interesting to note how Reboot to Restore stacks up against the default Windows restoration programs.

Various System Restoration Options in Windows OS

Windows operating system comes with a range of system restoration applications embedded within it. Let us analyze the functionality of some of the crucial inbuilt tools available across various versions of the Windows OS:

Windows 7

Restore Windows 7
Windows 7 offers a range of inbuilt programs for tackling system related issues such as driver malfunctions, system slowdown, and so on. Of these programs, System Restore and Startup Repair are particularly useful for resolving configuration-related issues and repairing files.

System Restore

Windows System Restore is a pre-installed software used for restoring the operating system files and settings to its previous state. It does so by creating Restore Points at regular intervals. Restore Points are snapshots of the operating system files and settings saved by Windows for later reference. Depending upon how long the system restore feature has been in enabled, there can be one to several Restore Points which can also be created manually if Windows has not yet created one.

When a user executes Windows System Restore, the program reverts the configuration to the selected Restore Point. As a result, all the OS-related changes that had taken place after the creation of the Restore Point are discarded. For instance, drivers and/or applications installed after Restore Point creation are removed while those that were uninstalled after the Restore Point are reinstalled. In other words, the device configuration is rolled back to the state when that Restore Point was created.

Notably, Windows System Restore does not impact users’ personal files. So, all documents, videos, images, and other files that existed at the time of executing System Restore continue to exist even after restoration.

Startup Repair

Startup Repair is also an inbuilt tool of Windows 7 used for scanning the computer to identify damaged or missing system files which are often the reason behind Windows booting issues. The program can not only locate damaged and missing files but also repair the same on users’ command. Windows Startup Repair is especially helpful when user-inflicted changes on OS files or those made at the time of installing applications prevent Windows from starting up normally. Most of the times, these issues get resolved by executing Startup Repair.

Restoration tools introduced in Windows 8
Restore Windows 8
Windows 8 was released with considerable changes to the Windows suite of recovery programs. In addition to System Restore, Windows 8 offers Refresh and Reset options as well.

Refresh
The Refresh option in Windows 8 reinstalls the operating system afresh. However, before reinstalling Windows, the program secures all personal files, user-defined settings, preinstalled applications, and the applications installed by users. Hence, these are retained even after executing Refresh.

Reset
The Reset option reverts the device to the state it was when shipped. The program deletes all user-generated settings and files, and installed applications. Only the default applications are retained. Therefore, users have to reinstall the OS updates and other software after Reset completes.

Restore
The System Restore option in Windows 8 works the same way as Windows 7. It reverts the configuration to the selected Restore Point undoing all the changes made after the Restore Point was created.

Windows 10
Restore Windows 10
Contrary to the expectation of offering a range of restoration and recovery options, Windows 10 just provides System Restore and Reset. Reset itself offers three options applicable for different scenarios.

System Restore

Like its predecessors, Windows 10 also has the same System Restore functionality. The program can rollback the system to an older state captured as a restore point without affecting personal files.

Reset
The Reset option in Windows 10 reinstalls the operating system but in 3 different ways. It allows the users to keep their files, remove everything, or revert to factory settings entirely.

Keep my files: When users opt for this choice, the Reset program reinstalls Windows 10, removes all the additional drivers and applications downloaded, and changes made to settings by users. However, this option does not delete personal files of users. Hence, it should be tried when System Restore fails to resolve an issue.

Remove everything: As the term indicates, this option removes even the personal files along with drivers, applications, and settings before reinstalling the operating system. So, this option is suitable only if users want to permanently erase all data and make it irrecoverable for others.

Restore factory settings: This Reset option is different from the other two and should be executed carefully. It reinstalls the Windows version that the device was originally shipped with. So, if a user had upgraded from Windows 8 or 8.1 to Windows 10, this option will reinstall the previous version of Windows along with the manufacturer’s applications that came in with the PC. (Note: This option might not be available on all PCs)

Limitations of Windows System Restore Functionalities

The restoration and recovery programs of Windows are extensively used for troubleshooting issues and maintaining device health. That being said, the limitations of these inbuilt tools cannot be denied either. Some of the major disadvantages are listed below:

Demands Technical Expertise: All the restoration options in Windows, irrespective of the OS version, require the users to have a fair technical understanding to execute. Besides, the process of executing any of these programs is a bit technical and involves multiple steps, all of which makes resolving system issues difficult for the users.

Needs Manual Intervention: Windows does not facilitate scheduled or remote restoration. All the programs mentioned above can only be executed manually. This makes them unsuitable for large enterprise networks comprising hundreds of devices where it is extremely challenging for IT team members to physically visit the affected devices and resolve specific issues manually.

Time Consuming: Windows restoration programs take anything from several minutes to more than a couple of hours to complete. Such massive downtime can drastically affect organizational productivity. It is not the desired scenario, especially in case of mission-critical workstations that are needed to be up and functioning constantly without failure.

Requires Additional Resources: Windows Reset often requires a recovery drive to execute if it finds certain system files missing. In the absence of a recovery media, users need to download the installation media first to Reset the computer. On the other hand, the Restore Points created by Windows System Restore at regular intervals also consumes considerable storage space. Older restore points are also deleted in order to store new ones and can end up replacing the appropriate restore point you are looking for.

The Reboot to Restore Technology: How it works?

The Reboot to Restore technology focuses on preserving the clean state of computing devices. Once deployed and enabled, the technology prevents any change or input to the system from taking permanent effect. As long as a computer remains switched on, the Reboot to Restore technology allows users to work normally on the device without any restrictions. But the files, software, add-ons, and other items installed or downloaded during a session are stored temporarily. As soon as the device is rebooted, the session data is completely discarded. As a result, the system boots up with the same configuration it had when the Reboot to Restore software was activated.

The Reboot to Restore technology affects the entire system. As a result, cookies, extensions, malware, and other items that download automatically in the background while using the Internet are wiped out every time a device restarts. Same happens with user files and settings. This ensures that systems are adequately protected from unwanted or unauthorized changes.

That being said, Reboot to restore software such as Deep Freeze have the provision of retaining user files across reboots. It allocates virtual storage space or exempts a hard disk partition from the Reboot to Restore technology to save users’ files without affecting the system configuration. Central management, scheduling Windows OS update, mouse, and keyboard control, and power management are the other unique features of this Windows SteadyState alternative software.

Benefits of the Reboot to Restore Technology

Reboot To Restore Technology
The simple and robust functionality of the Reboot to Restore technology offers a range of benefits in contrast to the Windows restoration programs:

Simple to execute: The Reboot to Restore technology makes system restoration a very simple task to execute. Once installed, the technology restores the desired system state on reboot irrespective of who restarts the device or how many times it is restarted. Hence, whenever an issue is noticed, a simple restart is enough to rollback the configuration to its clean state.

Does not require expert intervention: The Reboot to Restore technology supports advanced features such as scheduling restart or shutdown, automating OS and software updates, and remotely managing the device. It significantly reduces the burden on the IT professionals as they do not have to manually cater to each malfunctioning device.

Restores instantly: The Reboot to Restore technology reloads the admin-defined clean configuration with a restart. It does not require any additional time for the restoration, nor does it have a lengthy process of executing it. As a result, the technology not only eliminates downtime but also ensures that the devices are always functioning at the optimum level.

Resource-efficient: The Reboot to Restore technology does not require any additional drive, media, or device to function. When installed, it uses a fraction of the internal storage to lock-in the desired state for restoration.

Cost-effectiveness: The Reboot to Restore technology delivers tangible ROI by maximizing system uptime, increasing IT staff’s efficiency, and keeping the device configuration immune from unauthorized changes.

In conclusion, it can be safely stated that the Reboot to Restore technology offers clear advantages compared to the inbuilt Windows restoration programs. Deploying the technology helps in maintaining the system integrity and delivering improved computing experience to all users alike.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

System Restore functionality in Windows 10 - How it works

Windows 10 features various inbuilt features for system recovery. In the event of system malfunction, these tools allow users to revert the configuration to a previous point when it was working perfectly.



System Restore and Recovery options in Windows 10

Following system restore and recovery options can help if you’re facing issues with your Windows 10 PC:

  • System Restore: This option is most suitable for times when your PC begins to showcase defects after installing a new application, driver, or update. Running system restore will take the PC back to a previous configuration. Once enabled, System Restore automatically creates restore points when there is a major change in the configuration like installation of a new driver, application, or OS update. Also, users can manually create a restore point to capture their desired configuration.
    System Restore cannot protect against malware, viruses, or other malicious elements. Neither can it be used to recover lost or deleted files. It only allows you to take the system back to an earlier configuration as captured by the restore point when the system was working fine. 
  • Reset your PC: This option is advised if the issue persists even after running system restore. Essentially, Reset allows a user to decide if you wish to keep your files or delete them, and then reinstalls Windows. A user can accomplish this in three ways:
    1. Keep my files: This option re-installs Windows 10 while keeping personal files saved. It removes installed apps and drivers as well as changes made to System Settings by the user. 
    2. Remove Everything: This re-installs Windows 10 and deletes all personal files. It also deletes all apps, drivers, and anything installed by the user.
    3. Restore Factory Settings: This option is not available for all PCs. If it is available on your system, then it can be used to re-install the version of Windows that the PC originally came with. This is usually Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. It re-installs any program installed by the PC’s manufacturer. However, it does delete all the apps and drivers installed by the users as well as changes made to the system settings.
  • Go back to the previous version of Windows: This option can be accessed within 10 days of the upgrade. It allows users to return to the version of Windows they were using before upgrading to Windows 10. Personal files will be left intact but all apps and drivers installed after the upgrade will be removed. Changes to system settings will also be undone.


How to create a Restore Point manually in Windows 10

  • In addition to the restore points automatically created by the system, users can also save their desired configuration by manually creating one or more Restore Points. To do so, the following steps need to be taken:
  • Open Start menu and type Create a Restore Point in the search field.
  • Search and open System Properties from the results. Select the System Protection tab and click the Create button.
  • The System Protection dialog box appears. Enter a name for the Restore Point. (You can use the date or the name of a program you are about to install or anything that makes it easy for you to recall later.) Click Create.
  • A progress window is displayed. When the restore point is created, a message saying so will confirm the same. Close the message box and then the System Properties window to exit.

The Restore Point has now been created. If needed, a user can restore the machine’s configuration to this point. Before creating a Restore Point, it is essential to ensure that the system is functioning at its best. If the system is infected by any form of malware at the time of creating the Restore Point, then the device will continue to malfunction due to the malware even after System Restore.


How to perform System Restore in Windows 10

If a PC is grappling with an issue and a System Restore needs to be performed, the following steps need to be followed:

Open the System Properties window and select System Protection tab using the steps mentioned earlier.
Click the System Restore button on the System Protection tab.
Click Next on the System Restore window named Restore system files and settings.
A list of Restore Points is shown. Select the desired one.
Click Next.
Click Finish to confirm the restore point that you want to use on the window named Confirm your restore point.
A question mentioning System Restore process cannot be interrupted once started and do you want to continue? will appear. Click Yes.
System Restore will begin to revert the system to the selected Restore Point. This process will take about 15 minutes. 
Wait until the PC restarts. Sign in to your Windows profile.
On the Desktop, System Restore completed successfully message box will appear. Click the Close button.
System Restore is now complete. Check if the issue in question has been resolved.

Windows 10 comes with an effective tool in the form of System Restore that helps to fix computers and return them to a workable state. However, the process is quite complicated and time-consuming. On the contrary, technologies like Reboot to Restore offer an alternative to System Restore by troubleshooting system issues with a single reboot. Software such as Faronics’ Deep Freeze harness Reboot to Restore technology to revert systems to a desired clean configuration with exceptional ease. It tends to be far more user-friendly than the inbuilt programs of Windows 10. With a Reboot to Restore solution at their disposal, all that a user has to do is to restart the machine. This makes it an excellent tool for mission-critical systems that cannot afford to suffer any downtime whatsoever. It also significantly lowers the need for IT intervention, especially in multi-user computing environments due to its simple process.

Monday, 12 March 2018

System Restore Software for Multi-user Computing Environment

With increasing demand for computer-aided services, public places like libraries, hotels, and transport terminals have started providing computers with uninterrupted internet connection to ensure customer satisfaction. Technology is also controlling critical systems accessed by various users, such as electricity grids, airline routes, law enforcement network, financial markets, and communication lines. With such growing business and operational dependence on computer-based operations, it is crucial for IT professionals to ensure 100% system availability and operability. However, maintaining fully functional and secure systems in multi-user computing environment poses its own set of IT challenges.

Challenges faced by IT in a multi-user environment

In a multi-user computing setting, systems are accessed by many users with different requirements which makes the systems more vulnerable to configuration drifts. There are users who are not aware of the consequences that  an accidental keystroke or alteration might have on the Operating System (OS). They might end up making random changes which leaves the networked computers with faulty configurations. Downloading and running unauthorized applications/files on the system is also very common among users of public access systems, that can allow malware to intrude the system and bring down its performance. It is a serious concern for multi-user systems, as it can even result in crashing the OS in the long-run.

In majority of the cases, IT professionals take recourse to the system lockdown approach that helps them prevent malware issues to some extent, but severely restricts users’ technological environment. Further, locking down computers does not provide much aid in resolving inconsistency in configurations across the network systems, for which IT administrators need to go through an intensive process of checking each workstation and reconfiguring them. Frequent instances of system breakdown and prolonged downtime also can result in mounting IT tickets and operating costs. In certain computing environments, as commonly found in government and financial agencies, IT administrators need to provide users with the freedom to use applications and programs as they see fit to perform their mission-critical jobs. This makes IT professionals look for effective measures that can ensure safe usage of shared systems, while providing an open and consistent computing environment to users.

How Instant System Restore Software helps in Multi-user Computing Environment

Using an instant system restore software based on reboot to restore technology can provide a better and more effective alternative to manual management of workstations. Such software offers more flexibility to the IT team by allowing them to set and control a baseline configuration across all systems per the corporate security standards. It also enables employees, visitors and patrons to have the freedom to use the workstations as they want to. When the system is rebooted, the solution quickly restores the systems back to the baseline as defined by IT admins, and reverts all user-made changes. Users are thus provided with a more open and unrestricted technological environment, while systems remain always protected against various threats.

Deep Freeze is a market-leading system restore software based on the non-restrictive, reboot to restore technology, which ensures instant and 100% system recovery upon each reboot.

Deep Freeze and the Power of Reboot to Restore Technology

Deep Freeze is one of the core product offerings of Faronics Corporation which has been a pioneer of the reboot to restore technology since 1999. This instant system restore software provides IT admins with the ability to standardize configuration in public access systems and avoid frequent system breakdowns. The reboot to restore capability of Deep Freeze allows it to transfer access data on an allocation table instead of storing them on the hard drive. When the system is restarted, this data is no longer referenced, and the system is taken back to its original baseline configuration as set by IT admins.

This simple-yet-effective system restoration mechanism of Deep Freeze not only provides more usage freedom to users, but also empowers them to resolve common system issues themselves. If a computer malfunctions, they can quickly restart to restore the system to its clean state. With each restart, all changes are reversed - intentional or accidental. Consequently, Deep Freeze also considerably reduces the IT workload, and provides the professionals with better scope to focus on more complex and high tech tasks.  This system restore software also offers a centralized console which makes it easy for IT admins to remotely configure, manage and update multiple workstations in different locations.

Why Organizations Across Globe Trust Deep Freeze: Benefits

Deep Freeze is the most preferred system restore solution for businesses around the world, primarily due to its robust capabilities of preserving IT-desired workstation configurations and making system endpoints virtually indestructible. The benefits of its reboot to restore technology is not limited to helping global organizations better manage IT challenges commonly found in multi-user computing environments. With Deep Freeze, enterprises can achieve more effective business outcomes with minimal efforts:

Prevention of Configuration Drifts: When Deep Freeze is deployed on a system, IT administrators can be rest assured that the computers will never stray away from their baseline configuration. A simple reboot is enough to restore the system to its pristine state.

Ensuring seamless business operations: By reversing all unwanted changes from workstations with a restart, Deep Freeze provides optimal system performance and 24*7 system uptime. This enables organizations keep their business operations running without any interruptions.

Reduced Dependency on IT: Deep Freeze allows end-users to resolve system issues by themselves on reboot, without getting into any time-intensive IT ticket resolution cycles. Customers using Deep Freeze have reported up to 63% reduction in their IT service tickets.

Optimal OS support: Deep Freeze runs well on the latest versions of both Mac and Windows OS versions, while supporting older versions like Window XP and Vista as well, which makes it an ideal solution for diverse multi-user computing environments.

Increased Productivity: Deep Freeze offers better business resilience by bringing workstations back to their original state with a quick restart. By ensuring fewer support calls and no downtime, it helps employees work more efficiently and complete jobs on time.

IT admins can experience the power of Deep Freeze ‘reboot to restore technology’ with a  30-day free trial. To know more about the product and its functionalities, visit http://www.faronics.com/products/deep-freeze

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Easily Restore a Computer with Every Reboot to Get a Clean State

Public computers are prone to configuration drifts, malware attacks, and performance slack. Resetting factory defaults every time to address the issue is not feasible in terms of both time and manpower. Here is a quick and easy way to restore the clean state of such machines with every reboot.

When you have to manage a network of public access computers or computer devices in an organizational setup, you need a computer restore software that can roll back each system to its baseline configuration quickly. This is essential for the health of all the computers in the network. As an IT administrator providing organization-wide technical support, you need to ensure that no change to the system configuration persists after a user finishes his/her session. Failure in ensuring this could result in configuration drifts or system slowdown. Even if the changes made were not malicious, it is always better to restore the machines to its pristine state as a precaution. Enterprise IT personnels are accountable for hard disk crashes, technical glitches, malware attacks, and the overall upkeep of the devices and must ensure that user-productivity remains unaffected by minimizing system downtime. A computer restore software helps in improving the efficiency of the IT department by reducing the number of IT tickets in a multi-user environment, thus increasing the enterprise productivity in the long term.

Deploying the reboot to restore technology is the simplest way to preserve the system configuration across workstations of the organization. Deep Freeze, a product of Faronics, is amongst the leading reboot to restore solution available in the market. Similar technology was earlier provided by Microsoft as Windows SteadyState for Windows XP and Vista. However, Microsoft did not update the software for Windows 7 and eventually discontinued supporting it entirely. Deep Freeze, on the other hand, supports all versions of the operating system from Windows XP to Windows 10.

Installing Deep Freeze

Before you install Deep Freeze, it is necessary to make sure that the system is in a desired clean state as the software will lock-in that configuration as the baseline. It is therefore crucial to thoroughly check that the system configuration and settings are per your requirement before you move ahead to the installation procedure. Once Deep Freeze is installed on the system, manual intervention is no longer required to roll back PC to its pristine state. A simple restart does the task every time. You can temporarily disable Deep Freeze to make required changes like configuration edits, updating OS/software, etc.

During the process of installing the reboot to restore technology, you can choose the partitions you want restored on reboot. You can let Deep Freeze take effect on the entire system or create ThawSpaces to allow end-users to save changes. ThawSpaces are those disk partitions that the software excludes from its purview. In this way, Deep Freeze facilitates retaining end-users changes even as the devices are rolled back to pristine state with each restart.

Preventing Unauthorized Control of Deep Freeze

The Customization Code is a unique identifier that prevents unauthorized administrative access to Deep Freeze. It works by encrypting the Configuration Administrator, the Enterprise Console, the computer installation files, and the system for generating the One Time Password and "Command Line Control." Customization Code ensures that only authorized users can control Deep Freeze and modify its settings. If there are multiple administrators of Deep Freeze who are monitoring the same cluster of computers, they have to use a matching Customization Code. The Customization Code must be recorded and kept confidential because Deep Freeze does not recover a lost or forgotten Customization Code.

Scheduling Updates and Changes

Deep Freeze allows you to put a device in thawed state, which is the time when the software is temporarily disabled to allow scheduled tasks to take effect. When the workstation is in a thawed state, administrators can execute updates, modify settings, install new software, and perform similar actions that are required to persist in the system. The thawed period has a fixed duration with a scheduled ‘Start Time’ and an ‘End Time’. Administrators can also Thaw a system manually as and when required.

Reboot to Restore: Protective Technology for a Safe Digital Experience

Deep Freeze leverages Faronics’ patented reboot to restore technology to prevent unwanted or potentially dangerous changes to the baseline or "pristine" state. Deep Freeze also protects the master boot record when the computer is in the "Frozen" state (that is, when the software is enabled in the device).

Faronics Deep Freeze, the ultimate reboot restore software eliminates even potential chances of damage to the system, making them virtually indestructible. With Deep Freeze installed on a system, any changes made to the computer — whether or not they are accidental or malicious — are never going to be permanent. Deep Freeze provides failsafe immunity from many of the problems that are amongst the top concern of IT administrators of multi-user computing infrastructure.

Deep Freeze’s functionality is aptly complemented by Faronics Anti-Virus, which is available as a separate product in the market. It can also be managed from within Deep Freeze Enterprise, but requires a separate license though. Faronics Anti-Virus provides protection from external security threats such as viruses and spyware. It does not slow down computing devices due to long scan times and large footprints.