Net Tip: Keep Those Settings!

Previously we have discussed situations in which you want to maintain security on a desktop computer that may commonly be used by a transient worker — perhaps a temp, or sales person visiting the office, and so forth. Another issue is restoring that machine after that person is done. There are a few techniques you can employ.

  • If you’re working in a large enough shop with enough personnel to make it viable, you can use a software replicating utility such as Ghost to bring the machine back to it’s original state; wiping out any changes that were made in the meantime.
  • Load a program such as Roxio’s GoBack or Deep Freeze (read review) to restore a machine to its previous state either on command, or after every logout, if you so wish.

A less radical approach is to simply prevent a machine from having its desktop altered. You can do this through editing the Registry. And those magic words, of course, call for the standard disclaimer:

As always, be aware that changes to the Registry are dangerous. We strongly advise that you back it up before proceeding with any manual registry changes.
To do so, run regedit, click on Registry, and select “Export Registry File”. Choose a safe location (preferably a network directory or removable disk) and save the file.

    • Launch regedit
    • Under HKEY_CURRENT_USER, navigate to Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/Explorer
    • In the pane on the right-hand side, right-click on NoSaveSettings
    • Select Modify from the mini-menu that appears
    • Add the numeral 1 to the current value.
      This will ‘fix’ the state of the machine, thereby disabling Windows from saving the settings on exit.
    • Save changes
    • Quit regedit
    • Restart computer

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