Freeze it! How to use Windows steady state

You can lock down end-users' laptops and desktops with a minimum of fuss. Here's how.

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Does this sound familiar? "All I did was click this link in an e-mail that looked like it was from my daughter, but it took me to a weird website, and then I got a bunch of pop-ups and to get rid of them, I said Yes or OK or whatever that made them go away."

Cue the awful feeling in the pit of your stomach you get when you realize that someone in your company is in for a "nuke and pave" -- a complete rebuilding of an operating system, reinstalling all applications and restoring documents and other user data from backup.

Every time you get one of these calls, you probably think: "There has to be a better way. I don't want to spend an hour putting things back the way they were. The user doesn't want to spend hours getting his or her data back. And what's to prevent this sort of occurrence from happening again?"

There is a better way, and it is a solution long used by lab administrators and public kiosk owners: The steady state. In this piece, I will give you an overview of what these solutions do, what is available as part of any old standard Windows license and then look at a third-party product that in my opinion is best-in-class in this area.

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