Returnil Virtual System Home Classic
Picture this scenario: you’ve clicked on a link in an email(even though you know you really shouldn’t), or you’ve clicked on a banner telling you have thousands of security problems – and then, suddenly, you really do have a problem. Your computer has been taken over by a so-called ‘security’ program, that has encrypted your files, and is holding them to ransom – and you’re just wishing you could turn back the clock. If you had Returnil Virtual System ($39.95 direct) installed, you could do just that.
The basic concept of the Returnil system is a simple one. When you use the System Safe virtualization mode, the actual contents of your computer are untouched, including the registry and file system. Programs you run use Returnil’s virtualized version of the registry, and you won’t see any difference in the way your computer performs – it’s business as usual. The system is kept stable by not including the hibernation file and virtual page memory file. And if you have a malware problem, just reboot and it’s gone. It’s that easy.
Before installing the Returnil Virtual System, you’ll want to make sure your system is completely free of any malware, as rebooting will restore it exactly to it’s previous state, including any pre-existing problems. It might be a good idea to use a Rescue CD; there are a number of these freely available.
There are a couple of areas in the user interface that seem a bit counterintuitive – for example, the floating toolbar shows red to indicate that virtualization is active, and green to indicate that it’s not. And the link on the main program page that says “Enable when I start Windows” does not do that automatically, but is meant to indicate that virtualization is not currently active. You need to activate it yourself, and then the link changes to “Disable when I start Windows”. It would be less confusing to have a simple activate/deactivate switch.
Once virtualization is active, rebooting will discard any changes you have made – files modified, programs installed, etc. Returnil does provide the tools for you to save the documents and programs you want to retain, and you will receive a warning when rebooting. There are times when you will need to turn off virtualization, such as when doing a defrag, an antivirus scan or creating backups, but for normal computer usage you will need to use the Returnil Virtual System File Manager. Using this, you can mark files and folders to be protected, and you can make sure that any changes you want to keep are written to the real disk.
You also have the option to make sure files are protected by storing them on a partition, or Returnil can create a Virtual Disk for you. There is an advanced option that lets you do side-by-side comparisons of the real and the virtualized disk, and copy items across – and in emergencies, you can set Returnil to save contents instead of discarding them on reboot.