Windows SteadyState helps you keep shared computers in a school computer lab, an Internet café, a library, or even your home running the way that you want them to, even when many people regularly use them.
Managing shared computers can be difficult, technically challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. Moreover, without system restrictions and protections, users can unintentionally change the desktop appearance, reconfigure system settings, and introduce unwanted software, viruses, and other harmful programs. Repairs to shared computers that are damaged in this manner can require significant work.
User privacy is also an issue for shared computer environments. Shared computers frequently use shared user accounts that make Internet history, saved documents, and cached web pages available to later users.
Windows SteadyState was created to provide an effective way to help defend shared computers from changes by untrusted users and unwanted software installations and to help safeguard system resources.
After December 31, 2010, Windows SteadyState will no longer be available for download. Microsoft will continue to provide support for Windows SteadyState until June 30, 2011.
After June 30, 2011, support will be limited to the resources that are listed in the "Related Resources" section of this article.
Windows SteadyState FeaturesWindows SteadyState includes the following features to help you manage shared computers:
- Getting Started – Getting Started provides steps to help you use Windows SteadyState the first time.
- Windows Disk Protection – The Windows partition contains the Windows operating system and other programs. Windows Disk Protection helps protect the Windows partition from being changed without administrator approval. You can set Windows Disk Protection to remove all changes upon restart, to remove changes at a certain date and time, or to keep changes.
If you decide to use Windows Disk Protection to remove changes, changes that shared users make when they are logged on to the computer are removed when the computer is restarted or at the date and time you set.
- User Restrictions and Settings – User restrictions and settings can help improve and simplify the user experience. You can restrict user access to programs, settings, Start menu items, and options in Windows. You can also lock shared user accounts to make sure that changes are not retained from one session to the next.
- User Account Manager – User Account Manager lets you create and delete user accounts. You can use this feature to create user accounts on alternative drives that will keep user data and settings even when Windows Disk Protection is turned on. You can also import and export user settings from one computer to another. This saves valuable time and resources.
- Computer Restrictions – Computer restrictions control security settings, privacy settings, and other settings. For example, you can use this feature to prevent users from creating and storing folders on drive C and from opening Microsoft Office documents from Internet Explorer.
- Schedule Software Updates – Use this feature to download and install the latest software and security updates on your shared computer when it is most convenient for you and for your shared users.
System RequirementsSupported operating systems:
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista Enterprise
- Windows Vista Business
- Windows Vista Ultimate
- Windows Vista Home Basic
- Windows Vista Home Premium
- Windows Vista Starter
- Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
- Windows XP
- Windows XP Professional
- Windows XP Home Edition
- Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
- Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2)
- Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Related ResourcesThe following resources will continue to be available after June 30, 2011. For more information about these resources, click the following link for the resource.
- Windows SteadyState Readme File
- Windows SteadyState Forum
- Windows SteadyState Technical FAQ
- Windows SteadyState Handbook