Trap Malware With Toolwiz TimeFreeze

Toolwiz CareBack in April, I reviewed and highly recommended, a suite of freeware utility applications – Toolwiz Care. Having tested the application extensively, at the end of the day, it was no great leap in logic to say -  “This application is feature packed, and includes a wide range of tools that an average computer user should find powerful, efficient, and effective.”

One of the components included in this super suite is Time Freeze (recently released by the developer’s as a stand alone application) – a “one click simple” virtual system which, when active, virtualizes the operating system. In other words, a copy of the operating system is generated, and it’s within this “copy” – or sandbox, if you like – that all activity takes place. Keep in mind – the operating system is virtualized, only when Time Freeze is active.

So, why bother running in a virtualized environment, you might wonder? The answer is pretty simple – in most circumstances, there’s no real benefit. In fact, running virtualized may create a slight time lag in system response. There are, of course, particular circumstances in which running a virtual machine offers major  advantages – but, those circumstances (since I’ve covered this aspect numerous times in the past), are outside the scope of this review.

Instead, I’ll focus on the security aspect of running in virtual mode with Time Freeze when connected to the Internet. And, there can be significant security benefits.

Let’s assume, for example, that while surfing the Internet you fall victim to a drive-by download (more common than you might realize), while visiting an infected web site. Running in “real” mode would mean that you now have a significant problem on your hands. You can, if you like, believe that your AV application will protect you from the consequences – but, don’t count on it.

The same scenario, while running in virtual mode, will have an entirely different outcome. Since, in virtual mode – it’s a copy of the operating system which is facing the Internet – all system and application changes are restricted to the virtual environment. In other words – it’s the copy which has been infected. Simply rebooting the system does away with the copy, and with it – the infection.

Toolwiz Time Freeze, of all the virtual solutions I’ve reviewed over the past few years, has to be the simplest. It’s easy to use, non intrusive, and after initial setup, requires a minimum of user intervention – perfect for the average user.

Installation was hassle free – it was just a matter of  following the on-screen instructions.

Since the application place a small toolbar (shown below), on the Desktop – launching the application is a snap.

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A quick click on the toolbar and, a click on “Start TimeFreeze”…………

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… and, you’re in business.

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Backing out of the application is equally as easy. At which time, you will have the option of saving any changes made to the system – or not. Not saving changes will require a reboot.

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Fast facts:

Start up system protection. Prevents malicious threats being made and doing harm to your computer. It puts the actual system under protection and creates a virtual environment for system partition.

Simply reboot to restore your system to the previous state.

Don’t reboot to accept all the changes. It will take several minutes to save the changes to your real system.

Folder Protection – Help you to prohibit the changing of files by others.

Helps you to prohibit accessing the protected folders by others.

Protects your files from being infected by viruses or stolen by trojans.

Very easy switch between virtual & real system.

To enter virtual system, no need to reboot computer. To return to real system, just exit System Protection.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8(32 bit and 64 bit)

Download at: Major Geeks

FAQ for Toolwiz Time Freeze

A word of caution: There are no perfect solutions – this application will not protect you against rootkits. Developing safe surfing habits remains your best protection against malware infection.

A further word of caution: Although I’ve had no difficult with this application, there have been reports of system crashes caused by Toolwiz Time Freeze. It’s always good practice to occasionally create a Restore Point – just in case.

This just in: Jim Hillier over at Daves Computer Tips reports the following:

Hey Bill –

I was using Time Freeze pretty regularly to test software for review purposes. I actually stopped using Time Freeze because of persistent issues. Occasionally, after the reboot process, a random service would be stopped. It was no big deal, just go into Services and re-start whichever service had been affected. Then finally, after a reboot, the OS would not load at all. I tried everything to get the OS to boot but no go. I can only assume that this time an essential system service had been stopped. I ended up having to restore a recent image.

So, you may be better off avoiding this application.

10 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, Software, System Utilities, Virtualization

10 responses to “Trap Malware With Toolwiz TimeFreeze

  1. Hey Bill – I was using Time Freeze pretty regularly to test software for review purposes. I actually stopped using Time Freeze because of persistent issues. Occasionally, after the reboot process, a random service would be stopped. It was no big deal, just go into Services and re-start whichever service had been affected. Then finally, after a reboot, the OS would not load at all. I tried everything to get the OS to boot but no go. I can only assume that this time an essential system service had been stopped. I ended up having to restore a recent image.

    I sent an email to the developers outlining the issue but never received a response. This was all some some time back now and it’s highly possible later editions may have rectified the problem.

    Cheers… Jim

    • Hey Jim,

      Good to get your input on this issue. Doesn’t get much more serious than the experience you’ve related. Guys like you and I can work around an issue like this but, for an average user, we’re probably looking at a hair-raising experience.

      Better, by far I think, to approach this app with caution.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    I think virtualization is just sooo important, that everyone should be using it. I haven’t tried this latest one from Toolwiz Care, as I too heard about some issues with it, and of course I am completely happy with the virtualization program I already run with. But now that you have stamped your seal of approval on it, I might give it a spin. The rest of the Toolwiz Care package is great, so why not I say.
    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      Have to agree with you on virtualization – and I know that you’ve had a good experience in using it. But, despite the fact that I’ve not (yet) had an issue with this app, I’m going to suggest that you give this one a pass.

      Jim Hillier (one of your Aussie mates) over at http://www.davescomputertips.com/ has had several issues – the same issues I came across in my research. You may never have to deal with a problem but, why take the chance – especially when you’re happy with your current app.

      It’s too bad really, since as you point out – “the Toolwiz Care package is great”. And that it is.

      Best,

      Bill

      • Mal

        Hey Bill,
        Yes, I don’t like the sounds of those issues, especially seeing Jim hasn’t had a response to his inquiry regarding the issues. It’s funny isn’t it, some apps run seamlessly on some computers and stuff up on others. I lost a lot of hair over the years before this sunk in lol.
        Cheers

        • Hey Mal,

          I hear that.

          Yesterday for example, I installed Win 8 Release Preview and ThreatFire (one of my gotta haves), crashed the system. The old BSOD.

          Worked fine in the first 2 releases of Win 8 – but now; no go. So yeah, it’s hair pulling time. :)

          Best,

          Bill

  3. delenn13

    Now, see..Like always..I am determined to do things backwards.

    I found about TimeFreeze around Jan. or Feb. and then about ToolWiz Care from Rick at What’s On My PC and your article in April.

    I use it a lot for installing programs too. If i don’t like it..just reboot. :) I use my Sandboxie more for the browser.

    • Hey Delenn13,

      Yeah well, you are now officially a member of the back asswards club of which I am a founding member. :)

      Good to hear that (like me) you’ve not had any issues with this app. Still, a fair warning is required with this one – you just never know.

      What’s with all this freaking rain?

      Best,

      Bill

      • delenn13

        As long as I don’t have to pay for membership..All these bundles have depleted my extra funds.
        We(my flower beds and veggie garden) need this rain. :)