Hey Guys!

I have a windows XP computer that I have setup for my mom. She is not very computer savvy and sometimes clicks on things that she is not supposed to and get virus/malware installed on her machine. Even though I have an antivirus etc, I am constantly having problems with that machine.

What I want to do instead is load an image of a no-virus, no-malware snapshot of windows after every reboot. THat way it doesn't matter what she gets installed... it will go back to the original state once she reboots the computer. The only thing she does is check her email (web based) and facebook, so she doesn't need to save any files on the computer.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can accomplish that?


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Or, instead of eavesdropping on your own mother, you might like to do this...
You can make a clone or an image of the base installation:
i-set up a clean base installation with all that you want on it in the way of settings and applications on a partition of say, 8GB. 10, if you really need the space. That will be C: Leave the remainder off the hdd unallocated.
ii-clone [partition copy] the base installation partition to the inside edge [rhs] of the unallocated space to an 8GB partition [in the clone wizard just lclick the target space and drag it across to the right]. Hide it.
iii-expand the base installation partition to take up the remainder of the unallocated space.
ii & iii can be achieved in the one run.
She blows Windows, just insert the bootable cd and copy the clone back into C:
It doesn't get much easier. And the software to enable you to do all that [incl the bootable cd] is Partition Wizard. Really wizard, cos it is free.
That copy [clone] of the initial installation is a sector by sector copy, hence the idea of initially making C: a small partition, and later expanding that partition to max.
Or you can do the same thing by making a compressed image of the initial base C: and put it onto dvds... [ but you will lose those... so the hidden clone is easiest]. Image it with Easeus Todo Backup. Free, also. You must go into Options and split the image into dvd-sized blocks before you set up the image creation. Or you can put the image onto a special partition on the hdd, and then hide it.
Me, I'd do the clone thing.

Hi Gerbil,

That is exactly what I want to do... but do it automatically on every boot. Does that make sense? I want her to get a fresh copy of windows every time she reboots her computer.


If you do not hide the clone but instead add it to the boot menu in the boot.ini file and place it as the default then it should work but it is a slow method.
I suggest you research Sandbox programs instead and all actions of any kind are erased upon reboot if you set the sandbox up correctly.If in future yoo wish to update a program or add a program,disable the sandbox temporarily and then after reboot have it set to automatically start.

Every boot? That means she loses all emails, anything she's downloaded and saved, AV updates.... You need to create another partition for data, move the email files there, place her downloads folder there.... They would be untouched upon recloning, and likely uninfected by anything if the AV is up to scratch.
Thesisters have the solution. I don't use sandboxes [Sandboxie is one], so I don't their possibilities. You can drag emails, files etc out of the sandbox if they are safe and you wish to keep them. Sandboxie would work for you.

Some better Sandboxes allow you to create sandboxed exceptions,such as AV updates and allow dragging files out before or during or after threat inspection by anti malware programs.
Another alternative is running Windows XP inside of Windows Vista the same way you can run Windows inside a Mac.It will behave like a sandbox and you can activate the mouse in a way to respond in both Operating Systems so that you can drag safe files and folders out of the Virtual OS into Vista.Updates to Vista would not be affected ,such as AV updates.

"running Windows XP inside of Windows Vista"... I'd not thought of that. I probably won't get around to trying it cos I loathe Vista. Will XP run inside XP? Okay, that question seems rather silly on the face of it... but with Virtual software?

Xp will run in Vista and Windows7 using Virtual software.
Windows ME all the way back to 95, all versions, will run in XP using virtual software, some paid versions having outstanding performance and abilities.
I haven't used any recently because my security is better than most have it but I still receive the occasional e-mail to update one virtual box for running any OS in any other OS.At the moment the name escapes me but it does end with 'box'.

Yes, and also another similar product.VMware by Oracle and by Sun are both very good.I have run ME and Ubunto that way before rather than installing on separate partitions.As long as the hardware is compatible with the virtual OS ,it works.