Keeping a clean XP machine

Jim Sims sims at
Sat Mar 29 01:48:58 EDT 2008

I do most of my development on OS X but also make some Windows apps.

I have an older machine that runs XP and it never goes on the internet,
I use it to test basic development. When living in the city  
(Valletta), to
test internet features for a Windows app I'd simply drop it on a USB
flash drive and go to the local Cyber Cafe. The guy there finds it  
and lets me use any of his machines after he resets it so it can do what
I need without the usual Cafe restrictions (no cost either).

Now that I spend more time on the small island (Gozo) I cannot do this  
and am
looking at strategies to test apps on the web with minimal pain as
far as PC virus/spyware issues are concerned.

I like the idea of not having to think too much about virus/spyware
plus clients seem to like the idea that my test machine stays off
the web.

My plan right now is to use Acronis to back up my 'virgin' machine to
an external hard drive. Then, after testing just restore the PC using
that backed-up image after wiping the PC clean.

I am interested in finding out what others here think of my strategy.
Too paranoid? Use a different back-up tool?  Just load up with
anti-virus software? What do other people do? What would you suggest?

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