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Re: how to set up VM, or is there a freeware equivalent to Deep Freeze Software



Antonio Olivares wrote:
Dear all,

I have a colleague that teaches BCIS (Basic Computer Information Systems) and has a computer lab. The computers are Dell Optiplex GX 280.
My question is the following:

Administering the Lab is a pain in the glass. There are many threats, virii, spyware, trojan horses and the MySpace workarounds. Kids are kids and there are several extreme ways to prevent the kids from doing bad stuff, disconnecting the computer from the internet. Still kids manage to load games, download stuff, in restricted accounts, visit sites that are blocked and all. Is there some programs like Deep Freeze
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Freeze_(software)

that restore the machine back to the original contents. I told my friend that Linux could save him from many headaches, but we still have to clear with Administration. My thinking would be to install Fedora on the machines and set up a Virtual Machine, Xen, VMPlayer and install Windows to a virtual partition. I do not have experience with this, but I can learn fast. In setting up a Virtual Machine and running Windows from there with the Word/Excel/PowerPoint can behave in the same way as if it had Deep Freeze installed in it.
A student logs in, does his/her work on MS Word.  Finishes and starts messing with the desktop, ie. changing backgrounds, surfing the web, looking for ways to bypass the firewall to visit sites like youtube, MySpace, etc.  He/She logs out.  When another student comes in, the machine is restored to its original settings, original background, no programs installed no stuff.  Is there such an equivalent software that is open sourced?

Even at that, some of the problems were taken care off, AntiVirus software. Students had their own accounts, their own files, etc. But they got around to install software without Administrator priviledges, they downloaded games, they managed to bypass firewalls, they downloaded music and music videos, etc. Advice/Comments welcome. I hope that users on this list can suggest several ways of doing this task. I do not know if the school administrators will allow the installation of linux, but I do not see why not. The programs to restore the original configurations of computers are $old and the people that have them do not share them. When running a VM, are the settings saved? restored? I know about LiveCD's and they could provide another solution, disconnect the hard drives, that way the kids do not put their stuff in there, disable the USB ports so that students cannot put their stuff on the computer. Disable the audio from the BIOS, etc. One problem here is that the curriculum is based on M$ Word/Excel/PowerPoint, etc. I also know that M$ Word/Excel/PowerPoint can run under Linux via Wine, but would like a better solution. TIA,

If they won't go to Linux at all, he/she can always reimage the machines every night. I used to work in a place that had a bunch of public computers and every night, they would reboot and pull a fresh, clean image from the server. This was all automated (although I don't remember how) and probably ran as a scheduled task. I seem to remember that the hdd was two partitions and the one was hidden and inaccesible and was never able to be written to or even seen (at least by the average user) and the other partitions was the one that was blown away every night.

Another point: OpenOffice (obviously) can save in M$ format. That shouldn't be a problem for the students to accomplish.
--
Casey Stamper
http://www.stampersite.com/wordpress


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