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mepb

are virtual programs a good idea after a virus scare?

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hi, after just escaping from a nasty brush with the ups email trojan, had a look around and came across the idea of running a virtual pc session. The idea being that if there was an infection it would get dropped along with the virtual session and the pc would remain clean.

 

not sure if this is right place to post but this seems like a good idea can one of the deep tech people comment on what they think of this, was thinking of giving http://www.returnilvirtualsystem.com/rvs-home-free a go.

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It's good to be cautious but running a vm sesion for daily use because you are scared of viruses seems a bit silly to me. I use virtualbox every day but thats because i need to run linux for work reasons.

 

In 15 years of owning a computer i have never had a virus so let the worrie go, and build up your knowledge here on protecting yourself and learning from misstakes. There are some great people on here who really know there stuff and can really help you.

 

Of course if you are ever supicious of something, open it in a session. but i'd say it's a bit ott for just normal use for the reasons stated.

 

Other people might disagree. If you do go down that road, take a look at virtualbox. I prefer it over vmware.

 

Iv never heard of RVS so i wont comment there.

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Hi, mepb. :D

 

Not a tekkie, but I vote yes to virtualization, but maybe not a virtual machine.

 

I used VMWare for a while...it used lots of cpu & ram, was a bit clumsy. Tried Microsoft Virtual Machine but it seems to only work on WXP Pro. I have WXP Home.

 

These days I run Powershadow (like Returnil) and Sandboxie. You hear folks on some forums refer to paranoia, disguising visits to questionable sites, etc, but that doesn't matter. I have run into malaware in all sorts of scenarios...visiting supposedly harmless sites, visiting known baddie sites, following questionable links, etc etc. Malaware can be anywhere. So far (fingers crossed) nothing has stuck. After a restart, all changes gone. All 3 apps worth their weight in gold. Got them free, but would pay if need be.

 

Just an opinion.

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Hi mepb.

 

I had a similar experience to yours about two years ago that prompted me to try going virtual. I recommend both Returnil and Sandboxie. I have more experience with the latter (about a two year user of Sandboxie), but recently installed Returnil (version 2008) on the kids computer and love its simplicity.

 

Another reason to consider Returnil or Sandboxie: Its a way to test out new programs without leaving a lot of clutter on your system. Install a new program while vitualized, test it out, and if you don't want it, just reboot (Returnil) or delete the contents of your sandbox (Sandboxie) and your system remains clean.

 

Lastly, if you are considering Returnil, give thought to whether you want the 2010 or 2008 version. The 2010 version includes anti-malware and has resulted in the size of that program being much larger (about 30 mb) versus the 2008 version (about 3 mb). Some people have also reported problems with the 2010 version.

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Hi mepb.

 

I had a really bad experience with Returnil 2010, but since that time it has probably evolved into something less risky, but either way I would start off by trying the 2008 version, which is tried and tested, and has never given me a problem of any kind.

 

If you do try it, I would suggest watching the installation very carefully, and "skip" the "Virtual Partition" (there may be a box to check/uncheck, can't remember), and opt for the "Memory Cache" method as opposed to "Disk Cache".

 

This will give you Returnil in it's simplest form, which you can have start with Windows or not. Not, might be best to start with.

 

All you need to remember is that anything you do on your System Drive while Returnil is running, such as installing software, updating A/V, installing Windows Patches, making new bookmarks in your browser etc., will all be gone when you reboot.

 

You can of course save downloads to another partition, hard drive, or thumb drive.

 

For that reason, I use Sandboxie for browsing, with it's configurability (is that a word?) to save passwords, bookmarks etc while it's running, as well as being able to update Avast. I'm sure it automatically makes a clean install path for other AntiVirus Programs as well.

 

There has been a lot of discussion on here at various times on this type of software, and I've carried out a search for relevant threads.

 

Returnil Threads:

 

http://www.google.com/cse?cref=http%3A%2F%...um.piriform.com

 

Sandboxie Threads:

 

http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&cli...m%2Fsscse10.xml

 

Hope that helps, and there's a link for Returnil 2008 in my signature.

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DennisD, What is the advantage of skipping the virtual partition? I never understood that, so I seek your advice.

 

mepb, one way is to start without any virtualization, update everything (trusting in your anitvirus, etc, during this time) then start sandboxie and returnil. Then save anything you choose to an external drive.

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I use Returnil regularly but wouldn't want to have it running constantly, though I've never really been hit with a virus. The best protection is common sense, keep Windows up to date and a regularly updated AV (for when the common sense goes awry).

 

I mainly use Returnil for testing new programs so that all traces are gone after I've played about and decided whether to keep it or not. And also on the rare occasion I do any potentially risky browsing or want to check whether a link/site/download is dodgy.

 

Edit: Oh and I use the 2008 version too as the new version has bloat in it that I don't need and as was mentioned already the 2010 version is/was buggy

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DennisD, What is the advantage of skipping the virtual partition? I never understood that, so I seek your advice.

 

mepb, one way is to start without any virtualization, update everything (trusting in your anitvirus, etc, during this time) then start sandboxie and returnil. Then save anything you choose to an external drive.

 

The Virtual Partition is really only required if you need to save any downloads while Returnil is running. I tried it when Returnil first came out, and it caused me some problems. The main one was that any Defragger looked at the Virtual Partition as a huge lump of fragmented files. A huge block of red.

 

That may not be the case now, but I've no intention of finding out.

 

I think most people these days have at least a USB Flash Drive which is as good as anything to download stuff to, and then move it to the hard drive when Returnil isn't running.

 

As with JD above I don't use it all the time, and I don't have it installed for security reasons. For me it's primarily used for trying out new software, and IMHO there isn't anything better.

 

As mentioned before, I use Sandboxie all the time as an extra layer of security when on line.

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Good information in this thread.

 

Mepb, For what it's worth, I run both all the time except when updating tha AV etc. Tell you why, at the risk of being a bore.

Once, while searching for "Piriform Forums" on Dogpile.com (really) I contacted something that shut the computer down and restarted it. Scary. But whatever it was, it was gone after the restart.

Once, while searching google for Dell drivers, same thing...Avast went nuts, connection failed, don't remember what else, but all changes gone after restart.

Once, while following a link from an email, I got one of those rogue antivirus things, locked IE7 up. Restarted, all gone.

 

Soooo, I like the luxury of being able to follow any path without undue worry. Actually have gotten so spoiled that if a new software requires a reboot, I'm not usually interested.

 

Ident may be right, may be overly cautious, but its just an opinion and now I'm stuck with it. :P

 

Will for sure check out VirtualBox, though.

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Hi Dennis, I've got another Returnil question for you:

 

I've already decided to install this on my current computer that I'm using right now, but around how much RAM does Returnil use (to see if I can run Returnil on my old computer as well). :D

 

By the way Login, isn't VirtualBox an operating system virtualization program, and not a program like Returnil and Powershadow where you can just activate it and after computer restart everything is gone?

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Hi Dennis, I've got another Returnil question for you:

 

I've already decided to install this on my current computer that I'm using right now, but around how much RAM does Returnil use (to see if I can run Returnil on my old computer as well). :D

 

By the way Login, isn't VirtualBox an operating system virtualization program, and not a program like Returnil and Powershadow where you can just activate it and after computer restart everything is gone?

 

I was running it when it first came out until very recently with 512mb RAM, and I never had any problems.

 

The amount of RAM the program itself uses will surprise you I think. It doesn't use much resource at all. Mine is just short of 6mb at the moment.

 

How much RAM it "utilizes" depends on what you are doing with it of course. If you start running large programs, or install new programs using it, it will use Windows Paging file if needed.

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