?fastest restart for a kiosk machine?

Posted on 2011-03-03
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We have a "kiosk" machine in our lobby that we let folks use.

It has a "white list" of internet sites controlled by Microsoft STEADY STATE and the active directory.

After 2 minutes of inactivity, the machine restarts and STEADY STATE returns it to the "way it was before."

All this is "fine" except, the restart currently takes about 10 minutes on a 2.8 mhz HP single engine.

I am in the process of upgrading to a twin engine pentium with sata drive.

I fear it will still be "slow."

I've considered some sort of solid state drive as a next step,
I wondered if anyone can suggest a better way to remove any persistent data that may have been left by the prior user.

thanks much!

Question by:philkryder
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Expert Comment

ID: 35033890
10 minutes to start-up xp is so bad.  Reasons may include the performance issues of computer hardware and number of programs, but not limited to these.  

Check the eventviewer and see start-up errors and troubleshoot them.
Download boot analyzer and check what is starving boot; here is a free one:

You may upgrade/ get a newer series machine.
Edit XP with nLite and remove unwated stuff and compress the OS, it will help a lot and get you better performance as you will be reducing unecessary programs and services that goes into the default instellation.

Expert Comment

ID: 35034066
Hi their.

You can try the following link. It hasstep by step instructions on how to help you:
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35034134
No, think outside the box ....

It is a kiosk, right?  So why in the heck are you even messing with "booting" windows.  

i would solve this by runningLINUX on the machine and use your favorite virtualization software.  The XP "image" will be a snapshot you take after system is booted (I.e, tell it to hibernate, and this is what it will boot from )

Then set up a heartbeat daemon that the virtual XP machine sends out every few seconds to let you know all is well.  If the LINUX machine misses 2 consecutive heartbeats, it kills the XP virtual machine, overwrites the snapshot virtual drive that the system used previous system, with a master, then restarts the VM.  

Now here is where it gets even better .. use the native LINUX ram-based file system, and store the XP disk  image there.  So in event the O/S crashes, it is loading a saved config directly from RAM.  I'd be surprised if it takes more than 5 seconds to fully boot and be operational.

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Expert Comment

ID: 35034578
Ok, I would agree with what dlethe said, but if you are wanting to go the cost saving option, try what i posted earlier...  If you dont mind spending the extra cash, then just upgrade your entire system?

Author Comment

ID: 35037841

Linux is not an alternative for us.

My concern is that even with the upgrade the steady state processing will still slow down the reboot too much.
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

David earned 500 total points
ID: 35038284
You do understand that the virtual machine will be running real windows XP, right?  This will absolutely fix the problem and give you a steady state machine that refreshes in just a few seconds, as the state of the machine is a memory snapshot AFTER it as been booted is all copied from RAM to RAM.  
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35038658
I looked at the  link Jarrod provided.  Actually in your case, some of these suggestions will result in a slower system.
  - defragging would be waste of time on a SSD as seek time is effectively zero, so if disk is fragmented, it really won't make a measurable difference
  - the anti-virus software will HURT performance. Unless you are stupid enough to let people browse the web from the kiosk, then let's just set up a system w/o any viruses in the first place.
  - Adding RAM, up to a point, eliminating MSFT services will help
  - eliminating programs & disabling graphics & clearing out cookies and such will have no effect.
  - Buying registry cleaning software may have an effect, but only if you have such problems in the first place

Author Comment

ID: 35041405
again the issue is the startup time.

Yes, I do realize the XP would be a virtual machine.
Linux is not an option for us.

when starting from a fresh build with minimal software installed, I don't see any reg cleaning to help.

we DO want to allow folks to access SOME additional sites.
So, yes, we will keep McAffee which is the installation standard.

we need them to be able to get an email in order to get a PIN code emailed to them to access the sites on the KIOSK.

LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35243839
I object to deleting.  The author received a great number of viable suggestions.   Points should be split between all experts.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35244198
I'm inclined to give some points to
but none of the others.

The links to other places with "cleanups" don't really apply in this situation - I have a clean, newly built machine.

If a non Windows OS were an option, this would be a good way to go.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35244511
thx, but I still think you don't realize that you are running real winndows.  nobody could see anything different. you would effectively use a different startup from a memory snapshot taken after a full boot

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