Back 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.
A quick click on the toolbar and, a click on “Start TimeFreeze”…………
… and, you’re in business.
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.
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
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.