NetSupport Protect 2 review

Price when reviewed

NetSupport’s Protect 2 software is designed to stop students meddling with their machines. It allows administrators to keep Windows configurations safe, decide whether users can access local and network resources, and quickly roll back systems ready for the next class.

Protect 2 now adds support for 64-bit and extends its Roll Back Recovery feature to Windows 7. Aside from that, the main interface sees some graphical refreshment.

A separate deployment tool is provided that searches the network for available systems. Protect 2 doesn’t use an agent, so you must install the complete program on each client. For the disk recovery to work, you’ll also need to disable System Protection and Windows Updates on Vista and above.

NetSupport Protect 2

For files and folders, users can be stopped from renaming, deleting, copying, moving or sending. The System menu blocks access to functions such as the Management Console. MSI installation files can be blocked too, and users prevented from changing passwords.

For system recovery, you can automatically restore the system to the last Protect recovery point on each reboot; the manual option loads a Windows boot menu so the system can be loaded with all settings intact, or returned to the last recovery point.

All this worked well in testing, but it isn’t perfect. You can’t remotely reboot systems from the Protect interface, which will be a problem for large installations. However, it does work with NetSupport’s Manager software, which offers such facilities.

The lack of centralised management is a nuisance, and it’s quite pricey considering the basic feature set. However, Protect 2 does provide a simple solution for ensuring that classroom PCs don’t get trashed or cluttered with rubbish.


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