Microsoft’s Shared Computer Toolkit is a free tool that I’ve been meaning to check out for some time now.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend Rick Gray sent me a link to an article in PC Magazine (dated 11/30/2005) that gives a great overview of the toolkit, what it does, and how to get started.  I have to say that I am really impressed with this free offering from Microsoft.  Not only does it let you lock down settings for a stripped-down “guest” account, but it also lets you set up the computer so that changes aren’t committed on reboot.  The most impressive feature for me, though, was that you can schedule a time when the computer reboots (to wipe out changes), installs patches from Windows Update, runs anything else you want it to (e.g. antivirus update), commits the changes, and then reboots.  Very cool stuff!!

Create an Indestructible Shared PC  (11/30/2005)
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1892666,00.asp

Microsoft Shared Computing Toolkit for Windows XP
http://www.microsoft.com/sharedaccess