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.
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 PC – Comodo 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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