viewer mail: gaming in libraries & deepfreeze

I got this from a reader. I know when I am out of my league but I bet some readers here will have good insight and/or advice. If you can help out my librarian friend here, please leave a note in the comments.

Do you have any thoughts/comments re: on line gaming in the public library? You know, I thought we were all set with installing Deep Freeze on the machines–sure, let the anyone download anything, restart the computer and “poof” it’s all back to it’s original state.

But then the YAs started playing “Gunz” and our new Dell is flipping out –multiple windows opening, can’t even type in a web address, cannot get Deep Freeze to “thaw”.

I feel frustrated–I really don’t want to be this negative librarian posting “no gaming” signs, albeit in a positive manner.

Any experiences along this line? Whaddya think about allowing anything to be downloaded? I really am questioning Deep Free’s strength at this moment.

8 Responses to “viewer mail: gaming in libraries & deepfreeze”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Well, we don’t use Deep Freeze at our library (we use a combination of Centurian Guard and Gates Library Computer Security Profiles), but from the sounds of it, your Deep Freeze may not be up to the task when it comes to this game.

    We don’t allow any program downloads on our public access computers because that just opens the machine up to too many problems (as you are finding). We have YAs play online games on them, but they are games that are truly ONLINE, and do not need any downloaded programs or components. Do not let the gamers guilt you into allowing downloads – they are PLENTY of games that can be played safely, online, on your computers.

    In the meantime, if you do not have an IT person who handles troubleshooting and repairs, I recommend that you disable Deep Freeze, uninstall the program(s), run virus and spyware programs, and download and run CCleaner (www.ccleaner.com) on the registry (make a backup first!) until it scans without finding problems. Then I would ban downloads. Fortes (http://www.fortresgrand.com/) has some good, affordable, security options.

    Hope that helps. Good Luck!

  2. Jeff Says:

    Deep Freeze isn’t always the best product. There are two things you can do:

    Windows Security Toolkit (already available on your computer and has worked well for us)

    Centurion Guard (http://www.centuriontech.com/)

    We used Centurion Guard when we first received our Gates Computers seven years ago and it is a sure fire way to wipe everything clean after a user. It works because it isn’t software, it is hardware installed inside your computer. I think some people have figured out how to get around Deep Freeze.

    We have gamers on our computers, but recently we just used the Windows Security Toolkit and it has worked fine so far.

  3. Jay Says:

    At our library, we are moving away from DeepFreeze and attempting the Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit. It seems like a good next step for public access computers. I’m sorry that I can’t say from experience that the Toolkit will solve your problems, but IMHO, it’s something to look at. Hope this helps.

  4. lyra Says:

    well, if it is just that game that is the issue, you could use a firewall or something security related to block just that game…i mean yeah you could set up a blanket policy, but if it just that game right now maybe just try to fix that. of course, sometime there will be another game and another, perhaps, but not right now. just something to consider.

  5. GeekChic Says:

    We use DeepFreeze at my place of work quite successfully with several hundred computers over 9 branches. However, we also do not allow people to install anything to the computer and they can only download to either the floppy drive or the USB drive.

    DeepFreeze is a great product, but it is not a panacea and you cannot ask it to do too much. We use it in conjunction with group policies and are very strict. It works well for us and we have very few problems.

    Best of luck to your friend.

  6. Jake Says:

    Centurion, IMHO, is a better product than Deep Freeze. Also, investigate Drive Vaccine. We are currently using that at my library and is also superior to Deep Freeze.

  7. Edward Says:

    Hi,

    Downloading a game is one thing, installing it or running it on a public machine is another thing.

    Assuming it is just a game that messes-up your machine that is bad enough but if it is something more maliciously (Trojans, keyboard loggers etc) then what?

    Playing online games is still possible as it doesn’t require anything to be downloaded.

    We use a combination of things to create secure environment:
    - Deep Freeze
    - Anti Executable (same brand as Deep Freeze)
    - Group Policies
    - Virus Scanner
    - Locked BIOS
    - Boot from Hard Disk only

    Regards,

    Edward

  8. Jim Says:

    We use Deep Freeze, the Shared Computer Toolkit and group olicies in our libraries but use them for different uses. We use group policies for the OPAC which has a very restricted login, the Shared Toolkit for the public computers that need to be semi-locked down all day, and Deep Freeze in our labs and on circulating laptops that get restarted on a regular basis. None are perfect so it pays to have a “ghost” image as a handy backup.
    It seems to me that the issue is not with the game itself but with some garden variety piece of spyware that has found its way to the computer and most likely to the registry.
    I’d suggest:
    – Get control of the computer
    – Disconnect the NIC and get it off the network
    – Log in as administrator on the machine and/or safe mode
    – If using the keystroke combination fails with Deep Freeze unfreeze it from the command line
    – Disable system restore
    – Run anti-virus and anti-spam
    – Restart
    – Repeat
    – If the anti-spyware has failed to remove the bugger but can identify it look it up on the anti-virus vendor site and follow the instructions to edit the registry to remove the “run” or “runonce” key
    – Restart
    – If repaired turn system restore back on; thaw it and go celebrate
    – If failed….ghost the $#$@% thing and move on

    It’s not uncommon to get these “run once” spyware things in the registry and you just have to figure out what they are and get rid of them remebering to turn off system restore because you have a self regenerating key so the bad guy will be restored when you restart.

    HTH

    Jim Mann
    GCPL
    Xenia Ohio