cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

After the recent (and certainly genuine) question by a fellow Plusnetter about how to install an application without the serial number I am moved to ask a potentially dubious question of my own!
My son has just been given a Toshiba laptop by his college to do his work on. But the miserable (college IT department) sob’s have crippled it beyond belief with ‘Deep Freeze’.
Now I understand why they have used the program, kids on the net piling PC’s full of viruses and dross and then taking it back to the IT department to fix up. So whatever he does apart from saving data files to the 1gb ‘Thaw Zone’ will be reset, he can’t even change the screen resolution or unlock the task bar. Adding insult to injury there is a desktop shortcut to Eudora, but when he asked the IT department if he could connect to the internet the curt answer was ‘no!’
So this lad has a spanking new Toshiba PC that the only applications he can use on are office 2003, audacity and the gimp, what a waste! No internet research (or the fun stuff) as the network setup is disabled along with everything else as he is an XP limited user.
So the question was asked… ‘Dad, can you do anything?’
Maybe was the answer … I ‘think’ I could probably use Acronis 10 to make an image of hard drive as it stands then reinstall XP and when he is asked to return it restore the Acronis image. The college gets the same PC back virus free etc and he gets sensible use of a decent computer!
Now, does anyone here have experience of Deep Freeze? Can I do this or is it so clever that my evil plan will be detected? I would hate him to be thrown out of college!
19 REPLIES
MikeWhitehead
Grafter
Posts: 748
Registered: ‎19-08-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

They used it when I was at University and it was quite annoying, especially if your mind was elsewhere at the time of saving everything, to find you lost part of your important project!
I'm not sure about it detecting that happening, I've personally never tested it and/or had it installed in an environment for me to do so, but I don't see how it would know (it would be similar to the system being switched off for that length of time), unless it calls home to detect changes (which I don't think it can since I remember you saying it doesn't have an active connection)
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,031
Fixes: 62
Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

Having been following the Acronis forum over at Wilders the only thing I would beware of is the possibility of a corrupted backup.
I know a lot of Dell machines are causing problems (due to the hidden partition I think) so I would be a little cautious.
minkey
Grafter
Posts: 386
Registered: ‎22-07-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

I am not aware of Acronis, but there are quite a lot of free DOS disk cloners out there, which may be what you are after. So long as the computer can boot from CD and you can attach another HDD (via USB) to the computer you should be OK.
Jeff
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

@Oldjim
Under Acronis the HD shows two partitions, one sub 60gig (partition C)and one of 100mb (partition D). the C drive is the system partition as one would expect and the D drive appears to be a Norton security partition.
Under Windows the C drive is the system and the D drive does not exist, but there is a T drive of one gigabyte. This leads me to believe that Acronis is telling the truth about the disc layout and that the 'T' drive is a false partition that resides on the C drive but is just reported as a drive by the Deep Freeze software.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

@Mike
I can't see it calling home as they have nixed net access, the only thing that I was concerned about was that they had somehow messed with the disc boot sector, but on the other hand they havn't bothered to lock the bios and stop the PC from booting from CD. I would have thought that would be done it was a total solution.
*edit* Actually it would have been a total-ish solution if they locked the bios.... Short of me removing the drive :-)
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,576
Thanks: 3
Registered: ‎13-04-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze from
http://www.faronics.com/html/library.asp
Is in fact a virtual pc when you boot into windows the o/s and everything you do is done inside a virtual pc which is discarded when you shut down. It depends which version they use standard or enterprise as the enterprise has a lot more options like unfreezing the pc at certain time for updates.
DF isnt active until you boot xp so if you boot from cd and copy the partition it wouldnt know. In DF you can unfreeze some part of the disk which may then show up as another drive.
If you did all that and screwed it up then you could be in trouble with Uni.
With DF anything you do while its booted is discarded when its shut down so you can install anything you want and it will be gone after shut down. So you could use it that way and install anything each time depending what it is you could scripts it or use thininstall which would work in seconds.
You could try unfreezing the pc with the default password may work see there web site docs for that.
If the pc is locked down you could look for accmaker.exe which would give you admin access so you could use the net.
DF is well worth looking at watch their demo on their site no mater what you do the pc re boot perfect if you are an IT dept or similar it reduces support calls to 0.
At home its bomb proof and will speed up your pc 50% think about it you dont need to run Av, Spyware or firewall so free up loads of resources. If you get a virus turn off the pc and its gone get a bot taking over your pc reboot its gone.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

Take a look at;
http://portableapps.com/
Extra applications without installing.
Chilly
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

I'd personally ebay a replacement HDD, swap it, and drop the other one back in should anyone need my PC back. But then I'm a hardware guy...
MikeWhitehead
Grafter
Posts: 748
Registered: ‎19-08-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

Quote from: Ianwild
I'd personally ebay a replacement HDD, swap it, and drop the other one back in should anyone need my PC back. But then I'm a hardware guy...

I'd go this route, it seems to be the easiest course of action. And the fact that they won't notice (unless they have one of their tech guys hiding out in your wardrobe spying on whats running on the laptop...freaky!) Tongue
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

Change the hard drive, hmmm... that is definitely another option. Don’t get me wrong I entirely understand why they are using Deep Freeze, but I think the standard rollout image is pathetic; they may as well have given him a typewriter if he isn’t allowed to access the web. Ho hum, what a great waste of excellent hardware!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

@samuria
Defaut password doesnt work, but nice idea ;-)
I suppose another option is to use Acronis to copy the disk, restore it teomprarily to another box just long enough to see if the configuration is similar, proving that Acronis doesnt kill it.
I mean, what is the point of a PC without net access or music? You need that to work  Grin
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,175
Thanks: 303
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

If you have the money...
You could arrange for a dual-boot (Or a boot from CD) with the alternate OS on an external hard  drive (USB for cheapness?).

MikeWhitehead
Grafter
Posts: 748
Registered: ‎19-08-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

Or, why not use a Linux live cd? Most distros produce them and are downloadable from the website, or you could build your own with the things that he'll need. I always keep an Ubuntu live cd around incase something goes belly up, and that way there's no changes to the hard drive at all.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Suspect question #2 –Deep Freeze

I think swapping the drive might be the way to go as he will want more that the 1gig of storage that deep freeze is offering. If I can get hold of a cheap drive I will give it a go.
Out of interest I will use Arconis to clone the disk to the new drive and then we will know if it was a problem in the first place  Roll eyes