Best SteadyState Replacement: Deep Freeze vs. Reboot Restore Rx

By: Terence Howard

Since Windows SteadyState was discontinued in 2011 a lot of IT administrators of multi-user PC networks (at schools, libraries, hotels, internet cafes, et cetra) have been searching for the best Steady State replacement. There is a lot of possible commercial and free non-restrictive restore-on-reboot software out there that could be considered.

Freeware Alternative to Steady State

As Steady State was a free utility by Microsoft; itís only fitting that the most ideal replacement also be an open source or free utility. This brings us to the first contender Reboot Restore Rx.

Reboot Restore Rx is a freeware that offers more powerful restoration functionality than most commercially available solutions. As the name suggests, it essential restores computers on every reboot. Like its predecessor, SteadyState Ė Reboot Restore Rx supports Administrator access control. This way if a guest or student logs on, they would not even know that Reboot Restore Rx is even installed.

Reboot Restore Rx uses patented sector-mapping technology to update the baseline instantly with a single click, in real-time. And you can test the updates before committing to them. Best of all, like the discontinued Windows SteadyState, Reboot Restore Rx is free.

Commercial Alternatives to Steady State

Before Reboot Restore Rx, Faronics Deep Freeze was probably the best known commercial SteadyState alternative and has many virtues. Like a lot of reboot-to-restore products, Deep Freeze uses write-protection technology that prevents write commands from making changes to the hard drive. Deep Freeze intercepts these changes made by public users and redirects them to a temporary partition with a dedicated data cache that then discards such changes on the next reboot, just like SteadyState.

Drive Vaccine is another commercial alternative to steadystate and is a competitor to Deep Freeze. Drive Vaccine offers more features and is considered an advanced version of the freeware utility, Reboot Restore Rx. Drive Vaccine takes the reboot on restore to another level, by adding the functionality of being able to restore on any schedule (reboot, log-ff, end-of-day, weekly etc.).

Drive Vaccine's Remote Management Console comes with no additional charges and enables you to control all your Drive Vaccine client machines from a single interface.

With regards to DeepFreeze, the only reason we don't like it is because the cost is too high. I was wondering if you guys are going to update the Reboot Restore with password protection, or if your Vaccine is the only other option.

For a lot of small networks that canít afford commercial software the only option is to use desktop lockdown software, limiting the users' Windows accounts to restrict their privileges. This does simplify public PC management but also necessarily eliminates useful Windows functionality and constrains the users' productivity. If youíre a cash-strapped organization that hasnít got the funds to buy commercial software then youíll be happy to know that there is a freeware available today thatís much more powerful than SteadyState.

Reboot Restore Rx addresses the number one pain point of restore-to-baseline software: real-time updates. Reboot Restore Rx never requires that you turn off the protection to do updates.

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Technology is fun. It makes me happy. I dont like incremental changes. I like completely new ideas and big improvements. But I do make certain exceptions.

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