Download Free Returnil Virtual System 2010 Home

If you read yesterday’s principal post (Download Shadow Defender – Virtualized Intrusion Prevention), you’ll remember we discussed operating system virtualization. Specifically, controlling malware intrusion through the use of a ‘”virtual” environment, rather than operating in a “real” environment.

Shadow Defender, the virtual environment application we focused on is, by no means, the only solution designed to create a virtual environment, as a number of readers pointed out.

The alternative application most mentioned by readers (all of whom are frequent commenter’s, and high level users), was Returnil Virtual System. I’m not surprised; I’ve tested this application in the past and use it on one of my test platforms. I’ve long considered Returnil a worthwhile addition.

There are a number of differences between Shadow Defender and Returnil Virtual System:

Returnil Virtual System is a FREE application.

Returnil Virtual System creates the virtual disk in memory (RAM), rather than on the Hard Disk (there may be a speed advantage to this method).

Returnil Virtual System incorporates an anti-virus. This seems to me to be overkill.

Shadow Defender allows system changes to be permanently saved to disk. Using Returnil Virtual System, you must first create a virtual disk.


Both provide an intrusion prevention system that is non-intrusive, prevents damage from intrusions, and malicious software: viruses, worms, spyware, key loggers, etc., and after initial setup, requires a minimum of user intervention.

From the developer’s site:

Returnil Virtual System’s protection concept is very easy to understand. It provides an impenetrable, yet extremely simple to use mechanism to prevent unwanted or malicious changes from being made to your supported Windows Operating System and the drive where Windows is installed.

You operate a copy of your system in a virtual environment, so anything you do will happen in the virtual environment, to the copy, and not to the real operating system.

If your computer is attacked or gets infected with malware, all you need to do is simply restart your PC to erase all changes induced by it. Once restarted, the working-copy of your system is renewed, enabling you to go on working as if nothing ever happened.

At the same time, Returnil Virtual System can create a virtual storage disk for you; the purpose of this storage space is to provide a place for you to save your data when the System Safe (Virtual System) mode is turned ON. You can customize the size of this disk to meet your individual requirements.

When the System Safe (Virtual System) protection is OFF, you can install or remove programs, save documents within the Windows disk drive, install security upgrades and software patches, alter configurations, and update user accounts. All changes made will remain following a restart of the computer.

Both applications incorporate a simple, easy to understand, “follow the bouncing ball” user interface as the following Returnil Virtual System screen captures illustrate.

Returnil 1

Returnil 2

Returnil 3

Returnil 4

Fast facts:

Keeps your system safe when connected to the Internet

Viruses, Trojans, Worms, Adware, Spyware, Keyloggers, Rootkits and unwanted content disappear with a simple reboot

Enforces settings and protects your Internet privacy

Helps reduce overall disk wear by copying and operating your system from memory rather than the hard disk

Saves time and money by considerably speeding up the system

Reduces or eliminates the need for routine disk de-fragmentation

Leaves absolutely no traces of computer activities

Eliminates the dangers of evaluating new software

Seamless integration with supported Windows Operating Systems

Easy to use, simple to configure, and the one tool in your arsenal that will be there to save the day when all else fails

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Server 2008, Win 7 (32-bit/64-bit all)

Supported Languages: English, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Dutch, Czech, Finnish, Portuguese.

Download at: Returnil

A number of readers made mention of Comodo Time Machine, a worthwhile free system restore utility. Popular guest author, Rick Robinette, has a very informative article over on his site, What’s On My PCComodo Time Machine – A Powerful System Restore Utility. I encourage you to read this article.

As well, Tech Paul (one of my daily reads), has just posted an article, Time Travel Fights Infection, in which he discusses the concept of virtualization. I encourage you to read this article to get another view on this technology.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Online Safety, Software, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

13 responses to “Download Free Returnil Virtual System 2010 Home

  1. Pingback: Time Travel Fights Infection « Tech – for Everyone

  2. Ramblinrick


    Very cool we are all talking virtualization… I have always been excited about this technology.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Rick,

      I think this year, given the type of malware delivery systems we now have to confront, we’ll see a shift to virtualization as a primary defense solution. Not a moment too soon.


  3. John

    Hi Bill,

    Interested to know if this set up slows the system down at all?

    Given the number of start-up programmes I seem to have these days, I reckon it is now a good ten minutes before I can get any sense out of my system in terms of being able to open email, or do anything etc.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey John,

      WOW!! 10 minutes??? You must have a ton of patience. My primary home machine takes considerably less than a minute, Even my 3 test machines, take less than 90 seconds.

      I suggest that you take a look at your start up applications, and determine which ones you can do without. After which you should defragment your HD.



  4. Sut

    Hi again Bill. Enjoyed the article. As a long-term user of Returnil i would just say that there is in fact no need to create a virtual disk with Returnil in order to make system changes permanent. You can skip this part when installing the program and still have the option, right up until restarting the computer, to either ‘drop’ or ‘save’ all changes from within the program’s interface. The virtual disk can be created to save documents you’ve changed during ‘session lock’ that would otherwise be lost, but if like myself you keep your docs on a separate partition then the virtual disk aspect is redundant. I would again recommend anyone not using Windows 7 to seek out Returnil 2008 Free rather than Returnil 2010 Home as it’s less complicated (no anti-virus incorporated, which agreed is overkill), a simpler GUI, and reacts quicker to your instructions. Cheers

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Sut,

      You may be right in your assessment of ‘2008 versus ‘2010, since there is no longer an option available to “either ‘drop’ or ‘save’ all changes from within the program’s interface”. The new interface is considerably different.


  5. RoseD1st

    Another great find Bill! Thank you! The only app along this line Ive used is Sandboxie which I have on both my pcs now,but this sounds like it has more bells and whistles 🙂

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Rose,

      Sandboxie, as you know, is an excellent app, which I reviewed (just shows how time flies), 2 years ago, or so. Actually, need to do an updated on this. I think you’re right though, Returnil is true virtualization and overall, “has more bells and whistles”.

      I congratulate you for your awareness of the need to use a virtualization application. Hopefully, other users will follow your good example.

      As always Rose, thank you for visiting.


  6. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for writing about this. My question is, Does the antivirus inside of Returnil conflict with an already installed antivirus?



    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Tex,

      In the free home version, the only time the antivirus inside of Returnil comes into play is, if/when the user saves a file from a virtual session, to a permanent virtual drive. At that point, *only* the saved files are scanned for malware. I should point out, this feature is only available if the free home version has been registered – one of the advantages of registering the application.

      Since the antivirus is acting essentially as a type of secondary scanner, it’s extremely unlikely to cause conflict, I didn’t experience any conflict, nor have I read of any on the forums

      However, in systems, I’ve learned never to say “never”.



  7. Pingback: XP Antivirus 2010 is Back – Removal Instruction « Bill Mullins' Weblog – Tech Thoughts

  8. Merci pour votre article sur notre logiciel Returnil.
    Ce commentaire pour vous dire que l’antenne France de Returnil vient d’ouvrir et que le logiciel est disponible sur Returnil france


    Nicolas de