Following a previous thread about Sandboxie and games I concluded it wasn't very useful for games. However, thanks to various forum posters I ended up looking into Altiris SVS and how it virtualizes applications. This has finally got me to the solution I've originally been looking for a while now: how to virtualize your system partition while still being able to add (and remove) extra programs/games, and keep them seperate from each other. I realise this is probably possible using software like Rollback RX but I wanted to avoid those - one reason being costs, second because of how, for example RX needs to have control over the filesystem. Other ones which have been suggested are FirstDefense but I can't get that anymore. Well after experimenting and trialling various programs I've come to a solution which I'd like to share - thoughts welcome ------------------- You will need * At least two partitions. One for your System which we will freeze. Another which will be unfrozen. * Altiris SVS - http://www.svsdownloads.com/ top two * Altiris SVS Personal License - http://www.altiris.com/Download/svsPersonal.aspx * Returnil (free or otherwise) or your choice of "freeze and rollback" type of program, Shadow Defender or Deep Freeze are the only other two I've looked at and should work fine. Procedure (Now assuming you have a clean and fresh Windows XP) Assuming your system partition is C: and your unfrozen data partition is D: 1) Get your XP baseline set up. This will be what you will consider to be "always needed" and "just how I like it" Windows set up. Update it, install any apps you'll consider as permanent - that you want all the time not virtualized - and whatever else you need to do which will be part of your permanent baseline. 2) Optional step but recommended. Make an image snapshot using Acronis or whatever imaging program you have. Acronis Trueimage 8 is around for free. I'll find the link for that after this post. 3) Install Altiris SVS using this command line from the cmd.exe command prompt (make sure to be in the same folder as where you downloaded it) msiexec.exe /i Software_Virtualization_Agent.msi PRODUCT_KEY=xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxx INSTALL_ADMIN=1 D_FSLRDR=D:\fslrdr You'll need to get a personal license key as mentioned above. Adjust path to the .msi file as necessary. Reboot when asked. 4) Create the following batch files. These will be used to maintain necessary registry settings for Altiris and your Desktop, which would otherwise be lost when rolled back by your freeze program. C:\WINDOWS\system32\GroupPolicy\User\Scripts\Logoff\SaveRegistry.bat ------------------ @echo off SVSCMD * D -F del D:\fslrdr\fsl?.reg /q del D:\fslrdr\desktop.reg /q reg export "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\1\Desktop" D:\fslrdr\desktop.reg reg export "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Altiris\FSL" D:\fslrdr\fsl1.reg reg export "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\fslrdr" D:\fslrdr\fsl2.reg ------------------ C:\WINDOWS\system32\GroupPolicy\User\Scripts\Logon\RestoreRegistry.bat ------------------ @echo off reg import D:\fslrdr\desktop.reg reg import D:\fslrdr\fsl1.reg reg import D:\fslrdr\fsl2.reg SVSCMD auto_* A -NDR REF ------------------ 5) From start->run->gpedit.msc to bring up the Group Policy object editor and expand User Configuration\Windows Settings\Scripts (logon/logoff) 6) Add the scripts created above. Doubleclick "Logon" on the right. Click Add. Click Browse. Select RestoreRegistry.bat. Click OK then OK again to close the window. Repeat this for "Logoff" and select SaveRegistry.bat for that. This will result in SaveRegistry.bat being run when you log off windows and RestoreRegistry.bat being run when you log in. 7*) Install your choice of Returnil/Shadow Defender/Deep Freeze and where possible configure them to relocate or exclude C:\Documents and Settings and your Desktop/Favorites/My Documents. 7.1) At this point I recommend making an additional disk image so you can roll back to here in case you need it Freeze and reboot! 9) Your system partition will now be frozen and you'll be using SVS to add new applications from now on. 10) Use SVS Admin Tool to add Layers (virtualized applications). Tip: to keep desktop icons how you want them just Activate the layer, make a copy/paste of the icon(s) then Deactivate the layer. The copies will disappear, leaving the relevant icons on the desktop. Then just go into Edit Advanced Layer Properties for the layer inside SVS Admin Tool and remove the Desktop .lnk entries from inside that layer. Export the layer to your second partition for future use. Note if you want the layers to autostart just rename them with auto_ in front of them for example auto_3DSMax -------------- And there you have it. A system partition that is maintained in a static state, while still allowing applications to be added and removed - with the benefit that those apps are isolated as well and can freely be turned on and off with no remnants left anywhere While still being able to update My Documents, Favorites and whatever else you choose to keep maintained and updated. SVS layered applications keep their own settings and data too (just how SVS works!) * If you're unable to relocate C:\Documents and Settings\* or you want to keep specific files and folders excluded from being rolled back you can use Microsoft's Junction utility to redirect those locations and files to your D: partition. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/FileAndDisk/Junction.mspx So for example I like to have C:\Program Files\Agnitum\configuration.cfg excluded from any roll backs. I just make a copy of it to D:\mydata\configuration.cfg and use Junction to link/redirect the original file to the replacement. Do this BEFORE freezing! Result is you can use Returnil free + Junction + Altiris SVS and get a free solution Shadow Defender is very nice in that you can selectively exclude files and folders from being rolled back so Junction is not needed. I think Deep Freeze has a similar tool available but it might not have such granular control. * Add: here's that offer where you can get Acronis Trueimage 8 for free http://www.acronis.co.uk/mag/pcpro/ati8pe So total free solution is possible!