Windows Steady State

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 25, 2007
Updated • Oct 17, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

Update: Please note that Windows SteadyState is no longer available as of June 30, 2011.

Who needs Windows Vistas parental controls if you have all the options in Windows XP as well if you download the Microsoft software Steady State which probably was not designed with parental control in mind but with user control in general on Windows XP systems.

The major benefit of Steady State is that you can create user accounts, restrict those accounts plus define that all changes made by these accounts are undone after rebooting the system.

This is great if you have friends, family members or other users who tend to break things or do stuff on your computer that you do not want them to.

With Steady State you may not care at all anymore because all they do is gone after rebooting the computer. After adding a user, which can be imported if you are using Steady State on another computer, you can select either one of the pre defined security profiles such as High, Medium, Low, No Restrictions or Custom ones.

Custom ones are probably the most important ones because you get to control what the selected user can do in detail. These restrictions can be defined in the four tabs General, Windows Restrictions, Feature Restrictions and Block Programs.

The General Tab lets you specify a time limit for this account and select if you want to automatically reboot the computer once the limit has been reached. This one is actually pretty nice to prevent that your kids for instance access the computer longer than they are allowed to.

The Windows Restriction tab lets you hide drives and restrict Windows functions. This includes to block access to the task manager, command prompt and removing the run icon in Windows. This removes options for the user to make serious changes to the system, most of the time many of those options will have to be enabled if you want to secure your computer.

Feature Restrictions removes features from Internet Explorer, Toolbar and Microsoft Office. It is possible to prevent printing, remove tabs in Internet Options, and disable the macro menu in Microsoft Office.

The Blocked Programs tabs lets you block softwares that are installed on the system from being executed by the user. Many softwares are already in that list but you can also browse your system and add executables to that list.

The big question however is if Solid State is really securing the system to prevent clever users from accessing it. The answer is of course no it does not. It does help to protect your children and users who do not work regularly with computers. Everyone who knows how to work with Linux Live CDs knows how to break into a Windows XP system or use Linux to do whatever you would like.

The software checks if your Windows installation is genuine during installation.

Windows Steady State
Article Name
Windows Steady State
Windows SteadyState enables system administrators to protect Windows machines from changes made to them by untrusted user accounts.

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  1. ast said on December 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    to install steady state on windows 7 follow this -:

  2. Outdoor dude said on May 2, 2010 at 11:16 am

    This software stuffed up my XP laptop, you uninstall it you can’t get it back to normal

  3. not fun said on September 28, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    this is not fun cause i hate this program by u i only can play 2 hours a day and my dad dont wanna change i hate this how i can hack it plzzz. help my dad is so noob help…

    1. James said on November 12, 2009 at 1:25 am

      this is not fun cause i dislike ur punctuation i only can read 2 words per minute how can i instruct plzzz.

  4. Simon Tygesen said on January 13, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Windows Steady state is a very handy piece of software, if used with caution, like any software that has advanced capabilities, you have to know what you are doing in order not to cause more trouble than you solve.
    Windows steady state is such a piece of software and is not intended for a personal computers, but for shared computers that you install once and leave unattended “forever” and thereby cuts down maintenance costs for IT administrators and network management companies.
    So even though Microsoft states that Windows Steady state is easy to use even for non experts that is not entirely accurate, you surely have to know what you are doing when you install on an already filled up hard drive with already several specifically personally configured accounts. If its not a new cleanly installed computer with only the most necessary software or lots of space on the hard drive, plenty of memory and processor power, that you then immediately there after choose to install steady state on, and use that to manage your accounts you will surely run into difficulties, and lots of trouble.

    To give you an example, I my self tested this piece of software to protect my own personal machine, which is a very important work tool, shared with my wife who is a photographer(very important tool for her), because I was going out of town and had a friend look out for my home and allowed him to access the internet from that machine. Only problem was, that I decided before testing this software on freshly minimum installed system, just switched hard-disk protection on, and locked my wifes account with her about 70 Gigabytes of raw photos and on top of that created a Guest account with access only to the internet through IE.
    The problem with this setup exactly… Well, The hard drive is only a 150GB, with a recovery partition of 9GB and a partition on 30GB leaving only a 100GB for the system, where my wife already had filled her desktop with about a 70 GB.. leaving 9GB for Microsoft Steady State to work with… Leaving out the door in a hurry to catch the plane… this proved to be very stupid…

    The disk protection in connection with my lock down of the 70 GB photographer account… was not possible… Microsoft steady state will try to make a 100% mirror of the original account, cause the accounts have to be managed through steady state on given a 100% protection, but this was an existing account that got modified, and disk protection activated… and only 9GB of free space before this activation… You do the math… We are at least 60GB short. well, the good thing is that Steady state didn’t crash, my friend could access the guest account, carbonite kept backing up and i could remote control my machine using LOGMEIN with no trouble… except that the computer was running extremely slow and my wifes photography account was hardly accessible and only 200 MB of free space left for page-filing. Thinking about my setup, I would with all my expertise have expected that the computer would not have been able to boot, but it did, for a whole month until I returned home.
    Now i uninstalled Steady State and have learned not use it and anything but freshly installed computers that is to be used for sharing, to save me the trouble of heavy maintenance as an administrator.

    Its a tool that needs a little more than beginners knowledge of the world of computers. Take your time to test any given software on a clean machine before put it in operation on your dear hardworking machine, with all your money and hours of work on the hard drive… The professionals does nothing more than that, testing the software for hours in a safe environment on test computer before they claim that they are experts.

    Take it from one who had to learn the hard way.
    Did not become an expert of recovering lost data, because I am born with a computer in my arms, but because i did stupid things with my precious files and hard drives. Learning by doing, but with a lot heartaches and headaches. spare yourselves. Use a clean system for testing unknown software or consult the experts before.


  5. DD said on July 24, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I am using Steady State for thousands of retail point of service system and it is awesome. Not sure why you are having so many problems? It was very easy to install and configure; great tool for locking down stand alone pc’s.

  6. atk said on April 6, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Worst program, ever! Slow, difficult to uninstall, and I ended up rebuilding my machine because of all the errors I received. There is nothing steady about this. It changes your state to the extent you’ll never get it back. What’s even worse is that I used System Restore to set a restore point right before I installed Steady State. After I installed it and saw what a P.O.S. it was, I just thought I’d revert back to the restore point I had created. Well, I couldn’t because Steady State f’ed that up too. Bottom line: don’t use this.

  7. Al said on March 18, 2008 at 4:40 am

    1. That is why it is called a beta
    2. what is more important to you a couple of seconds waiting or a unusable computer.
    3. Have you tried other “Locking programs” IE:Deep Freeze, Clean Slate…. the list goes on and on most require a reboot to update. Most take longer to load.
    yes it still has bugs I currently have 300 workstations using it for the most part without any trouble. some expected troubles but nothing I haven’t yet been able to handle I have even intentionally ghosted a machine with steady state on and running let it load up and lock up. then I rebooted in safe mode let it dump the cache told it to keep the changes and placed it back into domain after running newsid AWESOME it worked Fxxxxxxxxx has lost a customer. I have yet to find anything that works as well and this is still in beta sometimes Microsoft does somethings right.

  8. Scott Campbell said on March 7, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Yes, Brian, your’e right, but the new beta 2.5 has sorted this : note it is still in beta so you may find some bugs

  9. Yffic said on November 26, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    FYI : My PC is a XP Windows

  10. Yffic said on November 26, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Do NOT install Steady State, it hangs up during long long minutes. Just the same shit as Windows Live One Care. Same thing, same effects ! DO NOT INSTALL

  11. Brian said on September 26, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Do NOT install this if you want your system to hang 10+ seconds (some ppl’s 2 mins). This is a documented and known issue they are “working on”.
    I’ve experienced this first hand and had to uninstall it!

  12. Enigma said on September 25, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    genius, how the hell did I not know about this.

    thanks again.

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