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Read Only Operating System // KIOSK Setup

I am trying to find a way to develop a kiosk style machine running Windows XP.  
The purpose is a shared machine that will have access to the internet and local applications.  

I am trying to find a way to make this OS/Hard Disk READ ONLY - so that at the end of the session (when the machine is turned off or powered down) the changes are dumped and not written to the drive.  During operation people can open files, edit attachments to email, etc.  (the normal daily operations) but no changes are stored to the disk when turned off.  

The way I would describe this is similar to either a Windows XPe on CD Rom, OR a VMware workstation that does not save the settings of each session.  

If anyone has any ideas for this, I would welcome suggestions.  
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bknaffl
Asked:
bknaffl
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1 Solution
 
Radar07Commented:
Why not run VirtualPC in full screen mode?

Even if you lock down the XP workstation using GPOs you cannot prevent writing to the HDD. And if you do manage to prevent writing to the HDD then the OS is unlikely to run successfully. I'll be interested if anyone else has ideas as I'd love to do this in a few places myself.
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nobusCommented:
you can also use a reborn card : http://www.lenten.com/Products.asp
so no changes are saved; i believe windowws has a feature for it too
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oyvindhaCommented:
How about just using Group Policy to customize this?

Found an article that might help you on the way:
http://mcpmag.com/columns/article.asp?EditorialsID=1158
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Redwulf__53Commented:
Windows has created such a feature specifically for this purpose; Windows Steadystate.
I haven't used it yet, but it seems worth looking into it:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/sharedaccess/default.mspx
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djMundyCommented:
For something simple you can just change the Windows shell to execute IE in Kiosk mode - see here for more details: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/WindowsTips/WindowsXP/AdminTips/IEandExplorer/KioskComputers.html

For the best protection try www.sitekiosk.com - we used this in public libraries and it works a treat. They have a demo for download.

Cheers,
Daniel
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djMundyCommented:
Oops posted too quick, the IE solution won't allow you to use other apps. SiteKiosk is a great piece of software for locking down a kiosk PC, you should check it out.

As for having the PC not write changes to the HDD on shutdown, check out Deep Freeze (http://www.faronics.com/html/deepfreeze.asp) - we also used this on library public access PCs and it's rock solid. No change is ever written to the HDD. While testing the product, we tried everything we could think of to break the PC, and it still came back up clean on reboot.
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bknafflAuthor Commented:
I appreciate the comments so far.  
The Virtual PC or the VMWare window in full mode was the firs tthing configured, BUT that allowed for the user to shell out of the main app and then we would have a mess with the users in parallel environment.  I am NOT a big fan of making the systems dummy proof (make it dummy proof and a better dummy will be found).  BUT this is for a High End Senior Management offsite.

I will check out the other replies and get back here shortly.
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nobusCommented:
what about my suggestion ?  works nice
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bknafflAuthor Commented:
The card data sounds very very nice.  I just printed out the docs and will be doing a review later.  The initial concern that I have is that a software solution would be much nicer as these are LEASE machines and that this solution is used once a year for a short time.  
From the brochures, this looks like a viable alternative -- Again - taking a look at everyones suggestions.  Thanks!  And ALL suggestions are welcomed!!
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bknafflAuthor Commented:
VERY much so!
 This will get some testing :-)
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Jeff BrownGlobal Helpdesk SupervisorCommented:
windows steady state does exactly what you are talking about.   It was created  for computers in a shared computing enviorment and on shutting down with ignore any changes made to the drive and can be controled at a per user basis so you can have a super admin that can make changes.   Its available for free from microsoft at this location
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d077a52d-93e9-4b02-bd95-9d770ccdb431&DisplayLang=en
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Redwulf__53Commented:
wildstar10, please read my post above. I tested it myself and it works great, even in a non-domain environment it's easy to do.
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bknafflAuthor Commented:
Thanks - I got swampd at work and didnt get back here to do this but this solution is exactly what I was looking for AND at the price I needed to spend.  
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bknafflAuthor Commented:
I woudl love to give points to everyone but the solution that is exactly what I needed (now that I have tested it out) was the M$ solution.  As this is a highly important project - no one wants to spend ANYTHING (How many people work for the same company as I do??  :)).  The cost of the product - plus its performance was nice.  

Thanks to all that were involved and I DO appreciate the help.  
The card product is something that we will investigate further but for now the MS solution is the one we are going with.....
Thanks again!
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