PROPOSAL: Clean CAD computer and install Deep Freeze

The CAD computer seems to be rather clogged with problems. I'd like to wipe and reinstall Windows on it. While doing so, I suggest we use a tool like Deep Freeze to keep this from happening again. It's $48 for the standard version.

I propose we wipe the computer and reinstall windows and drivers. I'd like to use chocolatey for software deployment on the computer. The greater majority of software exists in chocolatey's repositories. This makes updates and maintenance easy. We'd freeze the computer in this fresh state. While frozen users can install software, updates, or whatever. The computer will revert to the frozen state when rebooted. We'd unfreeze it about once a month for updates.

If there's a solution which others are familiar with and would prefer, I'm all ears. Let's make it happen.


Sounds great. I’m sure there will be some discussion.

I support this.

Can we get a list of software together that will always come back on the cleanup? I personally use TeamViewer regularly on that computer.

Yes I think we would have a default build that we would examine on some frequency.

Did you talk to the CTO at all about this?

However, I don’t think we should be purchasing software like this unless there is not any open source software which comes close.

Hi Greg,

I was under the impression that proposals are made to the mailing list.

According to there are no open source alternatives to deep freeze.

I had never heard of deep freeze before, this seems perfect for our computers. I see one place on the website that says the standard license covers 1-10 computers, but another page says it is just for one… Anyone know for sure if we could use one license for all our computers or if we would need one for each? Seems this would be useful for all our common use workstations (CAD computer, Laser Computer, CNC Computer, Admin Computer, etc)

Jeff, Vote proposals go up on the mailing list if it requires a money component that can’t fit in the warden budget. (Not a hard limit, but typically ~$100) And in a case like this, it would be something to talk with the CTO first since they get to be the one to support it. In this case if you convince Ian,and there is room on the warden budget this month, he could order it and make it happen quickly.
My rule of thumb, is I talk to someone directly related to that area about purchases before tossing up a vote. I’m not arguing against the idea, I’m trying to give a better sketch of how we (typically) handle things in the gray areas like this.

If the CTO is for it, I’d be for it. Again, they are the one that has to deal with the machine rebuilds in general.

I have no problem with the general idea, but I would agree that if there is an open source alternative we should be using that. The cost is reasonable for a single workstation but if we want to do this for all of our machines, as seems likely given that they all have this problem, then the price-tag will climb quickly. I have no experience with any of these but Reboot Restore RX looks like a common (closed-source) alternative which has a free option to try it out and, more importantly, offers free/discounted pro licenses to non-profits if we decide it’s worth keeping.

Also, I greatly appreciate the “CTO will have to maintain this” consideration, but to be honest I’m not likely to have the time anyway in the two weeks I have left in the position. :slight_smile:

  • Ian B.

I am willing to do the leg work on this one when I get back to Cincinnati the week of July 15th. I’ll document the install and future procedures so the process can be replicated. Part of this will be Chocolatey, which can make maintaining the systems easier.


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A few weeks ago I was trying to use the CAD computer and it was nearly unusable in its sluggishness. I did some diagnostics and came away concluding that it was due a combination of a pathetically latent hard drive and an oppressive security suite. I haven’t used it since then so maybe you are referring to a new problem but at the time I didn’t sense any particular issue with software other than security scanning “killing the machine with kindness”. I would get behind adding an SSD drive (if it doesn’t have one already) and dialing back the real-time scanning a few (dozen) notches.

I spent nearly 20 years working with Windows doing intensive desktop and server automated deployment and troubleshooting but that was in a different life and my Windows skills have gotten soft. I am just giving my 2 cents. If you feel like my observations are off base then please disregard.

I think I might have a couple smaller (128Gb ?) SATA SSDs laying around gathering dust. Would these get put to good use or simply add to clutter?

I’m a big fan of SSD for the OS and a huge spinner (that is backed up) for data.
Just my $0.002

Amazon has adata 120GB drives on sale do $15 if you have the coupon, or $18 without. We could pickup a couple for a few machines around the space.

Gok if were gonna do new hard drive’s first i reccomend 256 or bigger and i personally wouldnt want to spend the extra for a name brand like wd or Samsung.

Dave B, if you have some, I think that would be great!

120gb is a bit small, but good enough for OS and applications, particularly if it's going to be wiped every reboot.

As to brand, last time I bought Samsung were the cheapest available in the size range, never assume me brands will be more expensive, it's always in flux.

I personally buy top shelf SSDs for personal use. When SSDs fail, it’s typically rather catastrophic as opposed to the gradual erosion of platter drives. I depend on my machines for work and although I do have decent backup procedures and considerable redundancy, the difference in cost between cheap shit drives and the good stuff is usually less than an hour or two of billable. Samsung Pro, Intel are about all I use.

Some of you may remember me killing my Micron m4 a few years ago at the hive when I left my thinkpad on top of the toaster oven reflow oven during a test run… That sinking feeling. BSOD. Drive not found. Catastrophic fail. :slight_smile:

I however agree 100% with the peanut gallery here - cheap and cheerful is the way to go for a machine that will be imaged or otherwise have a controlled load. SSDs have gotten to be so cheap as to be toilet paper.

So it sounds like Dave B has some top shelf (but smaller) SSD’s laying around he is willing to donate . . . . . . Hmmmmm . , , , ,
Sounds like low risk/high reward. :grinning:
Thanks Dave.

I remember making RAM disks because HD’s were soooo slooowwww.
I remember printing our programs out to have a “copy”.
I remember hearing HD’s spooling up while I went and got coffee.
Of course our ransomware was a letter made up of cut out letters from a magazine.

You kids get off my lawn.

We don’t need a large drive, just one that is big enough to hold applications.

We have a file server already; all data should be stored on it.

Sorry but please be realistic and get a drive at least 256 GB. We just spent $1300 on Windows (A/C units). We can afford difference in price akin to a pack of freaking gum. We've got nothing to prove be using a tiny (by today's standards) drive and plenty of hassle to avoid. Ever been in the situation where you couldn't install updates because the disk was full? The cost we're talking about is easily within the wardens budget.

I'm actually not a fan of the idea of a deep freeze restore on reboot. I've installed stuff that I want to use again and can't possibly be contributing to the machines crappy performance. I have not observed any particular thing that the computer had a problem doing aside from stupid latency which I attribute to disk performance and unnecessarily aggressive real time scanning.

How about we make a practice of keeping and updated clonezilla backup of the whole shooting match and declare it a hard requirement that data users who want to persist must be stored on the network share. No cry babies when you lose something. Then write a scheduled script to purge desktop/downloads/documents)/music/videos.

I'm not suggesting that someone else do this stuff. I've actually been meaning to propose that I take over maintenance of the computer since it is in my warden area and my wheelhouse