Windows SteadyState might have gone obsolete, but classrooms are not devoid of efficient workstation management tools.
Reboot to restore based solutions comes with a wide range of extended capabilities to ensure that systems continue to function optimally with minimal IT involvement.
Schools, colleges, universities and even vocational learning centers often set the benchmark of excellence for future endeavors of their students. In this regard, the proliferation of computer labs and digital classrooms indicates educational establishments’ effort to provide the best learning experience.
However, consider this — how useful is a library to a reader if the books and manuscripts in it are not indexed and managed? Little. In fact, readers are likely to spend more time sifting through volumes than actually reading and getting the information they wanted. Same is true for educational technology deployed at educational institutes. The provision of computers and the internet can enhance the learning experience only if it is properly managed.
Given the multi-user computing environment found in educational organizations, maintaining optimal system configuration and ensuring device up-time is not easy, to say the least. In this context, Windows SteadyState deserves a mention for making lab and classroom computer management easy.
Windows SteadyState – An era bygone
Windows SteadyState facilitated restoration of a system to the desired configuration with a simple reboot.
Made available for Windows XP and Windows Vista, the software protected systems from all kinds of user-induced changes. It worked by write-protecting the hard disk, thereby saving changes in the cache.
Windows SteadyState gave IT administrators the power to eliminate, retain, or preserve the inputs generated during user sessions. When the software was set to ‘Discard’ mode, it cleaned the cache on restart. This brought systems back to their admin-defined configuration, undoing the changes carried out by users. As a result, computers were secured from potential damage due to user-induced changes during any of the sessions. Using the ‘Persist’ mode, IT admins were able to retain the changes made by users for a specific period, after which they were automatically discarded. This allowed the authorities to save the necessary changes permanently within that time frame. On the other hand, enabling the ‘Commit’ mode saved all inputs on a permanent basis directly without caching.
Windows SteadyState allowed IT personnel to provide unrestricted computing environment by enabling students and scholars to utilize the systems to the fullest. The software also allowed disabling of Windows Command Prompt and Control Panel to protect system settings and files from unauthorized modifications.
A major drawback of Windows SteadyState was its compatibility with only 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista. While the software was efficient, its limited compatibility narrowed the scope of its usability when 64-bit versions of Windows were introduced. In 2010, Microsoft officially discontinued it and even stopped supporting it from 2011.
Though Windows System Restore was (and still is) available as an inbuilt program, its functionality is starkly different from that of SteadyState. The immediate need for a Windows SteadyState alternative was (and is still being) efficiently fulfilled by the Reboot to Restore technology.
Reboot to Restore Technology – More than simply a Windows SteadyState alternative
The Reboot to Restore technology does exactly what its name indicates — system restoration on restart. The technology does not interfere with users’ activities, allowing full access to both online and offline resources. However, it acts as an impenetrable wrap around the admin-set configuration and does not let any change to take place at the system level.
All user-generated files, stealthy trojans, and alterations in settings are only stored temporarily. The system changes that a user makes during a session will persist as long as the system is running. This allows them to work as usual on the device. When the device is restarted, the Reboot to Restore technology erases the all the temporarily stored inputs and reverts the system back to its earlier clean state. It thus maintains system integrity without failure in just the time required for the device to restart.
Disabling the software prior to making configuration changes allows IT admins to save them permanently. Once enabled, the software preserves the modified system configuration including the changes into account and then starts discarding the user-made changes on reboot again.
With Reboot to Restore software enabled on classroom computers, most of the issues that inundate in-campus IT teams can be resolved by just restarting the device — a task that anyone can perform. The software allows educational establishments to keep their devices running flawlessly without interruptions. Students do not have to lament over malfunctioning computers hindering their learning experience, nor do the administrative staff has to summon IT and wait for hours to perform critical administrative tasks.
Educational institutions have registered impressive results post deploying a reboot to restore software. Device up-time has been maximized in many cases with minimal IT intervention, resulting in a mammoth increase in productivity for students, teachers, and the administrative staff alike.