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.