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Old 03-23-2012, 10:42 PM   #1
w00tman
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Default Setting SSD to read-only?

Hey all.

I just installed a Mushkin 240GB Callisto as the sole HDD on my laptop.

Would it be possible to have my OS (Win XP 64-bit) as well all of my applications installed onto it, then set it to read-only;
so I wouldn't have to worry about doing any harmful alterations to my system (or having virii infect it!) by accident,
while still being able to run the computer as normal, and store my files on external drives?

(i.e. does the OS require read-write access into the HDD it is installed into; or can it function properly in read-only mode?)

Last edited by w00tman; 03-23-2012 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:48 PM   #2
MarkLuvsCS
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I don't think its possible at all. Most programs write files for cache and settings. Honestly if you just image your drive on a semi-regular basis and backup any important files you should never be down for long if anything goes wrong.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:58 PM   #3
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I doubt this will work. Windows constantly writes to the registry, page file and to various log files. Also NTFS is a journaling file system, so it too constantly writes things.

Also you’d never be able to change any system or program settings because they couldn’t store the updated settings. That means all of your key bindings would be lost in games, no favourites would ever be stored for browsers, your start menu could never be changed, etc.

Also no patches, no service packs, no driver updates, etc.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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Yep.. no way to do that with an OS AFAIK.. especially a Windows based variant. Plus, no hibernate, no pagefile, no system restore, etc, etc, as others have already pointed out.

So, "read only"?.. would only be viable for storage volume where data never changed at all.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:38 AM   #5
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Use a live disk for these purposes.
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:04 AM   #6
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You could install Windows 7 to a VHD on the SSD and then create a differential disk that all your writes would go to so you could easily snap back if you wanted to.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:26 AM   #7
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If you are worried about security, upgrading to modern OS (either Win7 or some Linux flavor) would be a much more convenient way than setting your HDD to read-only.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w00tman View Post
Would it be possible to have my OS (Win XP 64-bit) as well all of my applications installed onto it, then set it to read-only;
so I wouldn't have to worry about doing any harmful alterations to my system (or having virii infect it!) by accident,
while still being able to run the computer as normal, and store my files on external drives?
Deep Freeze

You can download a trial version. I think it runs on a partition basis, so you can divide up your SSD and then freeze the operating system & applications partition, while leaving the second partition unfrozen and save all your documents there.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
The Eternal Fountain of Youth
By ensuring 100% workstation recovery with every restart, your computer can hang onto its ‘new computer smell’ much longer. In addition to enjoying the efficiency of running a clean and lean machine, Faronics Deep Freeze extends the life of your computer from an average of 2.5 years to 4-5 years.
Interesting claim
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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I used to have Win 7 Ultimate; but I've come to discover that, as far as 64-bit Win OSes go, XP is still pretty much fastest ceteris paribus. Less eye candy perhaps; but it retains all the functionality benefits of any of the later 64-bit OSes with next to no compatibility issues (I remember having a terrible time getting CATIA V6 to work in Win 7), and lower RAM usage.

I don't quite understand why this read-only option won't work, while the live disc is viable alternative.

I mean, it's pretty much the same principle, right?

Granted, live discs usually have 'portable' versions of the apps bundled into them, while they set aside a part of the HDD to use as a 'ramdisk'.

But I don't see why I couldn't do a similar thing with a standard HDD, by setting up a smaller but separate partition just for the OS/apps cache, etc. Or even somehow setting it up so that it's all done on the RAM (I have a fair bit to spare; 32GB, to be exact)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BFG10K View Post
Also you’d never be able to change any system or program settings because they couldn’t store the updated settings. That means all of your key bindings would be lost in games, no favourites would ever be stored for browsers, your start menu could never be changed, etc.

Also no patches, no service packs, no driver updates, etc.
I was hoping that I'd simply setup my system and program settings before putting the drive into read-only. And I figured I'd never really need to change settings per se, unless any alterations to the internal hardware forced me to. Plus, I rarely, if ever, get notifications of any patches that need to be installed; and I don't think Microsoft has released any service packs for XP since SP3.

Anyways, thanks for all the replies, folks. I'll see if Deep Freeze is any good before I order a copy; although it does sound like a bit of gimmick.

Last edited by w00tman; 03-24-2012 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:12 AM   #11
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We use DeepFreeze in our teaching lab. We have 9 student workstations, and DeepFreeze allows students to save and make changes - but the systems always are restored to "Normal" on reboot. In order for OS or software updates to take place, DeepFreeze must be turned off. That can only be done by a password designated administrator. It can be set up to do specific partitions only. It is a very useful product. It is very straight forward and not gimmicky.

This the current versikon we use: http://www.faronics.com/enterprise/deep-freeze/

All our workstations are dual boot - Win 7 and XP.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:33 AM   #12
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I remember deepfreeze from middle school annoying the death out of me; I think my friend and I found a workaround using a boot floppy. it definitely does what it says since it's essentially booting the same image file each time with no modifications made (much like snapshots in virtualbox)

This was in 2002, and the school computers were using windows 98 SE
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w00tman View Post
I don't quite understand why this read-only option won't work, while the live disc is viable alternative.

I mean, it's pretty much the same principle, right?
No. The Live CD loads what it may need to temporarily modify into RAM. It runs a Linux distribution. Linux is just the basic OS kernel and drivers. The final product can be highly customized. If it had enough RAM and access to external storage, my DVD burner's controller chip could run Linux. It covers 99% of computing niches, and is highly flexible.

Windows is an entire desktop/server software system ready for a user after installation. It has a kernel, drivers, security system, GUI, desktop envrionment, and basic application software. There is very little customization that you can do on its internal behavior. It makes assumptions about how it is installed and used, and has been designed and tested to handle common cases best, uncommon cases well, and extreme nerdy corner cases not at all.
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