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June 2015, Volume 4, Issue 6

Why it's time for locked-down desktops

For years we've talked about the "locked-down desktop" as a major goal of desktop management -- whether you're using virtual or physical desktops. The locked-down desktop (also called the non-persistent desktop) means Windows desktops are fully secured and locked down. A user can't make any changes (apart from simple things like setting desktop wallpapers and changing colors and fonts). Anything else they change is wiped away the next time they log on. The benefits of locked-down desktops are huge. They lessen support costs because users can't break things. They improve security because viruses and malware can't raise havoc with the users' admin rights. And, when all desktops are the same, software updating and patching becomes far simpler. The biggest reason to lock down desktops is to restrict what we call user-installed apps, or UIAs. Quite simply, users can't install "their" apps onto "their" desktops if the desktop is locked down. But while we've recognized the value of the tightly controlled desktop for decades, it's been ...

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