Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Sand Boxing VHD image file with Windows 8.1 Insalled!

  1. #1

    Posts : 26
    Windows 8.1

    Sand Boxing VHD image file with Windows 8.1 Insalled!

    Hello Guys,
    A friend of me, owns an internet cafe. He has recently purchased Asus M32BF Computers for his internet cafe. All the computers come with Windows 8.1. Two of his computer started behaving unexpectedly so asked me check. The computer were full with bloatwares and weren't running smoothly at. So with my friend's permission I decided to configure one computers my way.

    Here is what I did:
    1. Factory restored the computer (in factory image are also many bloatwares installed)
    2. Left the factory restored Windows just so.
    3. I installed a clean Windows 8.1 to VHD image file in he computer.
    4. Set the VHD file as default boot drive and set the waiting delay to 1 second, so normally it will be seemless
    5. Now inside this VHD Windows, I installed the drivers and softwares required for internet cafe, configured it as would normally be.

    Speaking of normal setup, he buys his computer, from a company that send computers pre-configured to use in his internet cafe setup. It will be all normal softwares installed, configured and then computer will be protected with a protection software called Deep Freeze. What this software does is, upon restart it, deletes/ restores all the files created, modified or deleted during last session. So after restart, computer is back to the state, how it was at the time when it arrived to my friend. But over the time, requires software updates and Windows updates.

    So my idea was, if we use VHD image for Windows. we just have to update one computer and then copy paste this image to all other computers. For copy paste management, we have the original factory version of Windows 8.1, that we can access at boot time. Untill this point is everything fine. Problem is that I can't find a way to implement the Restart/ Refresh system.
    I mean the file created/ deleted/ modified by user would remain in the computer this way, I want to be able to have the advantage of original setup, all gone upon restart.

    I did tried Deep Freeze, the software supplied by computer supplier. It didn't worked in VHD setup.
    I tried protecting only the VHD drive with it, but not the original mother drive where VHD file exists. it didn't worked.
    Then I tried protecting all drives, VHD/ virtual and actual. it didn't worked, plus it caused some extra trouble as after protecting all drives, I couldn't boot into the Originally installed Windows (factory image).

    so question is, is there a way I can protect (freeze) the VHD drive either from inside or outside in a way that after each reboot, it will return back to the state it was previously in before user created/modified/deleted files etc.

    Ofcourse we don't want the data, cookies or whatever created by user A to be accessible by user B coming after A, nor do we want a user to install/ leave installed any crapware he had to install during usage that can trouble our computer.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10

    You can mount a vhd as read only - but I think this would prevent any files from being written to the system - even temp files...

    You do not need a Host OS to Boot a VHD - you can create a VHD on a partition and just direct the boot to it.. Must do the boot config through winpe..

    I am kinda thinking that you can create a VHD and then run an Autorun file.. The files would have to work like this

    If VHD A exists delete VHD A - Copy VHD B - VHD A
    boot VHD A

    what would happen is everytime the PC was booted the autorun would delete the prior VHD (A) and copy the clean system VHD (B) to the same partition but with the name of VHD (A) the boot would always be (A)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 26
    Windows 8.1

    Thanks a lot for the reply Kyhi, I am already booting the computer from VHD file, that isn't an issue at all, I can manage that.

    and yes one possibility is as you mentioned VHD A - VHD B, but problem with that.. it is a 14 GB VHD file, could takes quite a lot of time to make a copy of that, I think it may take 3-4 minutes on each startup.

    Plus I don't how good it may be for Hard Disk Life, writing 14 GB data on each restart, I think on average, each computer starts some around 10 times a day. that makes about 140 GB write/ delete each day, any comments on how is that for a modren hard disk's life span and performance.

    And yet, it will be great if anyone can tell how can I achieve that even if I am OK with it?
    I mean,
    How to automate the process of,
    and possibly complete this process in the background.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10

    I would not do it on every restart - if the prior user did not protect themselves - sorry..

    nice thing about a user VHD and a backup clean system VHD on same drive
    is when a user corrupts the user VHD being used - one could boot the Clean VHD and delete the corrpt user vhd and copy over the system vhd
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Sand Boxing VHD image file with Windows 8.1 Insalled!
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