About guest account RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Almost all the public libraries in the area of Copenhagen in Denmark they use Deep Freeze to preserve data on their public computers with internet access.

    Why don't they just use the Guest account settings instead? I think the difference is, that even logged in as guest, the system is still exposed to some virus and still allow some changes to data on harddisk, where 'Deep Freeze' does not and after computer reboot restores everything. And Virus programs and file-scanning become needless.

    The worst problem with deep freeze is just that if it locks the harddisk data, and windows update wasn't finish and re-boots once more, you have to reinstall the whole system, because login to deep freeze becomes inaccessable.

    Maybe windows 7 would become faster, if its public account used "deep freeze" functionality instead of virus file scanning programs.

    In my experience (which goes back to the days of zx81 and commodore 64) only two kinds of windows accounts are really needed: And that is administrator account with more or less security programs running and then the public account with more or less access to documents (saving pictures, music etc.)

    Because different personal do not need different account. They might need different directories with their name as label. Or they can just keep their data private on external data disc.

    So I think windows would become more simple without the account functionality by having instead the administrator option to lock down the harddisk (pc) for public usage.

    And maybe you could even advance that option, when you know that administrator has to update public computers now and then, by doing it automatically when they have internet access.



    Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:18 AM

All replies

  • There was also one more thing Microsoft could do to automate the condition of computer that administrator has decided to be used by public, and that is to also automate settings about system remembering user login and password. So that all such is deleted immediately after closing internet explorer. Because even if it is deleted after pc reboot, there might come another visitor to use the computer before it is rebooted ...
    Thursday, March 24, 2011 4:43 PM
  • Also administrators on public libraries, schools, universities etc that use "Deep Freeze" functionality may not always be aware of all the background activities that windows does. So if windows got a guest account that locked the computer like "deep freeze" that may not be a problem anymore, when windows had "knowledge" of its locked state and automatically turned down all such activities since they would be reverted on reboot. Plus windows might also offer some windows status variable for programs to read, so fx other programs written in java or c ... also can "know" that this computer is locked and automatically updates in this state will be reverted on reboot. You may think that "why not let already installed programs update themselves if they are already authorized"? But that is part of the security and why so many use deep freeze: no exceptions!
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 2:37 PM
  • And one more thing concerning guest account if the "frozen" state of the harddisk became an option in future windows:

    I don't know how many BIOS settings that have the power switch options: Last state, On or Off. But let us ponder for a minute why "Last state" or "on" are options considering that windows prefer to be shut down before power to PC is unplugged ...

    At a social place I know where all PC harddisks are normally in the "frozen" state and open for public use, it is simply easier to shutdown all PCs when the shop close by pulling the plug and by setting the power switch option to "on" so that all PCs turn on immidiately when receiving power. But I noticed that windows sometimes complain then that it was not shut down properly. And that is probably because at the time they pulled the plug then windows was doing some background work with harddisk. And maybe the primary FAT took some damage, so it had  to use secondary on startup. But windows do acknowledge some sort of distortion even though the "Deep Freeze" company promise that the harddisk data can not be distorted.

    BTW: About opening and closing a PC fast in a way that windows accept, my home pc laptop goes to sleep usually in 5-7 secs and are ready for use again in less than 15 secs, because then I also have to write login. Though this is also in administrator account and the harddisk does not need a reboot. The staff at the social place I know they want the reboot to "clean" the PC, because if some users surf porn sites, they don't want the next ones to experience all the spam and virus of the porn sites.

    But bottomline: if you could incorporate "deep freeze" functionality with the guest account, maybe you could also take into consideration that public users also do fast reboots more often fx. when you press down the power button and hold it a few seconds so the PC immidiately loose power. So that windows won't have problems with it when "frozen"...

    Friday, April 15, 2011 10:10 PM
  • Administrator account rather than guest account today is also prefered by users who fx. want to install a game.

    Example: I could at the public library just pick a game on dvd from their shelves and install it on their computers to play it, because their system gave you administrator login while their PC harddrives were in frozen state (with deepfreeze). That many of those games didn't work because shared DVDs used by public tend to get alot more scratched and invalid is another case.

    Conclusion: If you enabled windows to freeze harddrive (similar to deepfreeze) you should of course remember to unlock the ability to freely install software in the guest account, since such software will be gone again on reboot. If you didn't, then deepfreeze would probably still be better than your offer.

    Users who install something usually get surprised when they haven't heard of "frozen" state of harddisk before and everything is gone on reboot. So if you incorporate the "frozen" feature into windows, you may also want to notify users that save stuff, that it will be gone on reboot.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011 8:08 PM