Make Your Computer Indestructible With Deep Freeze
According to Faronics, their Deep Freeze software can make your computer indestructible. It does this by 'freezing' your software and settings, so your PC or Mac computer can be returned to a pristine state every time you start it up. Let's take a look at how Deep Freeze works, and find out if it's a good solution for you...
What is Deep Freeze?
Deep Freeze by Faronics Corp., is a software solution that lets you restore a computer to a specific state by simply rebooting it. In the company's terms, Deep Freeze "freezes" the computer's configuration so that it cannot be permanently changed by the user or malware.
Any changes made to your hard drive, such as downloads, new software, or changes to system settings will not be permanent. And of course that includes any damage done by viruses and spyware. Faronics refers to the effect of Deep Freeze as "reboot-to-restore" and indeed, it's appears as if your computer is magically returned to a factory-fresh condition every time you turn it on. (Those who have seen the movie "Groundhog Day" might be chuckling at this point, but I digress.)
After Deep Freeze is installed, any data that is written to the "frozen" partition is redirected to a special area. New software can be installed and used, new data files can be created, and new system settings will work. But the "frozen" space is protected against any changes. When the system is rebooted, everything installed, created, or changed during the previous session simply vanishes.
Can I Save Files or Install New Programs?
Obviously, Deep Freeze also prevents legitimate updates of software. Fear not; just enter the password you created during installation and Deep Freeze will "thaw" the protected partition for you. Then you can make whatever changes you desire before "re-freezing" the new configuration.
A user can save data permanently as long as it is saved to a partition other than the one protected by Deep Freeze. A utility called Data Igloo helps you set up alternative locations for user data.
Deep Freeze is not a replacement for anti-virus software, as it does not protect computers against malware infections. If a virus infects a machine, it can work its evil until the next time the system is rebooted. But after a reboot, it will be as if the computer was never infected.
Deep Freeze seems a lot like the System Restore function built into Windows, but actually it's quite different. System Restore saves snapshots of your system configuration periodically, but it allows changes. Deep Freeze protects your "ideal" configuration against changes. Also, System Restore does not affect user data files at all, nor do you have to save data to a different partition.
Deep Freeze comes in Standard and Enterprise versions. The latter includes several tools for administrators of multiple computers. For instance, the Enterprise version can be configured to go into "thawed" mode at specified times, enabling software updates during the time window.
System administrators who need to keep many PCs configured consistently seem to like Deep Freeze. It also seems like an excellent tool for kiosks or public computers, such as in a library. It's not uncommon for miscreants to install a virus, spyware or keylogger on a public computer, hoping to victimize the next person who comes along. But if Deep Freeze is installed, rebooting after each session will wipe the slate clean.
Is Deep Freeze a Good Solution For Home Users?
It does seem that computers get slower over time, and I attribute that to the accumulation of "crud" on the hard drive. Spyware, adware and useless toolbars may be affecting your computer's performance, or slowing down your web surfing. On a Windows system, the registry can collect erroneous and obsolete entries as programs are installed and removed. And so many programs want to run automatically at startup, which tends to make the start time longer and longer.
Deep Freeze can solve this problem by restoring a set of "factory fresh" or "known good" settings on every restart. That means malware infection are wiped away, and the effects of user error or improperly configured software are removed as well.
For home users who are not technically savvy, or computers that are used by children prone to click on anything that moves, Deep Freeze might be a good solution. There is one big caveat, though. If you create a document or install new software on the "frozen" partition, you will lose those files when the computer is restarted. This would also be a problem for users of desktop email software, because all their email folders would disappear upon reboot. These problems could be solved by using web-based software such as Gmail or Google Docs, which store your files and folders in the cloud. Alternatively, desktop software could be configured to store all files in a dedicated non-frozen partition.
For those who use computers every day to create files on a variety of software programs, Deep Freeze may be more of a hassle than a helper. If that's you, I recommend that you do these three things:
- Make a complete backup of your hard drive.
- Make sure you have a good antivirus program.
- Understand how to use System Restore.
What do you think of Deep Freeze? Would you consider using it? Post your comment or question below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 26 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Make Your Computer Indestructible With Deep Freeze (Posted: 26 Mar 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved