Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicates:
How can I make my mom's Windows PC bullet-proof?
How can I quickly reset the computers in my cyber cafe to a default state?

I am giving a computer to someone who is notorious for breaking everything they touch, and I would not like to go over there every week to fix it. So what are the best ways to make a computer unbreakable? To be specific, I don't want them to be able to do things like;

  • change network settings
  • remove anti-virus
  • install applications

The only solution I can think of so far;

  • do not install a hard drive and boot Ubuntu off a CD.

Ideally I would let them do whatever they wanted, and every time the machine is switched on it will reload the OS from a "pristine" copy.

share|improve this question
    
Is everyone looking for this solution supposed to think of searching for "windows bulletproof" or "bulletproof mum"? I am not asking for a solution for "windows" either. –  Nippysaurus Sep 27 '10 at 3:00
2  
Don't give him one... make him go to the library where he can break theirs. :P –  KronoS Sep 27 '10 at 3:09
3  
Funny thing about having to put your own hard-earned money down for something ... you tend to take better care of it. If this person is always breaking computers, don't enable the behavior. Insist that they buy their own system and that the PAY to have it repaired when it ceases to work correctly. –  Mike Chess Sep 27 '10 at 4:12
    
Deep freeze / Windows steady state amongst others - superuser.com/questions/79334/any-alternatives-to-deepfreeze. You didn't mention which OS you're using, I assumed it. –  Sathya Sep 27 '10 at 4:16
    
If you weren't looking for Windows solutions, why did you even post an answer that was Windows based? –  random Sep 27 '10 at 5:16
show 1 more comment

marked as duplicate by Sathya, random Sep 27 '10 at 5:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

6 Answers

Don't grant administrative (aka 'superuser' or 'root') rights to the user. Make them a regular user. Ubuntu does this by default, Windows XP and Windows 7 also support this.

This will limit the user's ability to install software which could break the system or allow malware into the system.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Couldn't you put it in a locked cabinet or something?

share|improve this answer
add comment

Microsoft Window SteadyState looks like a fairly good candidate for making Microsoft Windows resistant to changes.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Back up using Acronis True Image and save to another drive. Even if Windows breaks you can still restore from an image

share|improve this answer
add comment

Have you thought about installing vmware player with the browser appliance?

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/507083

You can even set it up to reset to a baseline every time it is restarted.

You could also consider treating the system as a kiosk. This is described here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiosk_software

share|improve this answer
add comment

If you are looking at a linux distribution, most will suffice as they need sudo privileges for the package manager and to change network settings. While antivirus is not nearly as necessary for linux, for a user with minimal knowledge, it is still recommended. Honestly, just avoid windows. Even with anti-virus software, it takes little time for a windows system to be compromised in one form or another. I know that statement is highly subjective, but for a user prone to breaking things, it will likely be true.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.