Returnil

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by biatche, May 14, 2007.

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  1. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

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    There's horses for different courses and in my opinion Returnil is just fine the way it is.

    When the issue of the mbr not being protected was brought up it was implemented within a couple of days(?).

    MS Virtual PC 2007 is capable of doing any reboot testing required and free as well.

    I also get those PD errors but it's a minor thing compared to the benefits of using Returnil.
     
  2. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    I agree Franklin and thanks for pointing out MS Virtual PC 2007.
    I use FD-ISR for testing. Just make a snapshot - install - test for a few days -
    delete the snap shot.

    I would prefer Returnil to remain as is. It would be useful to turn off Protection without having to reboot but not essential
     
  3. WilliamP

    WilliamP Registered Member

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    For what it is worth. Returnil is great. I agree that [if possible]the ability to come out of protected mode with out re-boot would be nice.
     
  4. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Agree but XP is not free and Vista Ultimate is insanely costly.
     
  5. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

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    Article
     
  6. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Ok, but even these versions of Vista are not cheep.
     
  7. Bromide

    Bromide Registered Member

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    I have the same problem as dartsmaster [post 275].
    Returnil applies its protection to a partition on a different hard drive rather than the system partition.

    My OS is on a SATA hard drive with two partitions. I added a PATA drive with three partitions for data. According to Windows Object Explorer [post 279], the first partition on the PATA drive is designated “HarddiskVolume1” and is the partition protected by Returnil. The SATA partitions are HarddiskVolumes5 and 6.

    I tried connecting the PATA directly to the ribbon cable as master to the CD/RW drive. I also tried connecting it through a PCI IDE controller card, but the result was the same.

    My values for
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control]
    “SystemBootDevice”
    and
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RVSYSTEM]
    “Parameters”
    are the same as dartsmaster’s.

    A workaround is to mount the PATA drive in an external enclosure and connect via USB, in which case the SATA drive is numbered first and Returnil works very well.

    Hopefully, Returnil will have this all worked out very soon.
     
  8. wraithdu

    wraithdu Registered Member

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    I finally made it through this thread (took me 3 nights). So from what I gather in this thread and the one on the TrueCrypt forum, this is how Returnil works (layman's terms) -

    - It clones the system partition in memory, meaning partition and file system/index info. This does not mean actual files are cloned, hence the small memory footprint.
    - Any changes to the filesystem are made to the virtual clone in memory, and the resident OS is directed to read/write file information from the memory clone. The actual file system is not touched.
    - If files are 'deleted', actual files are not touched, just their file sys info is removed from the memory clone. This means that Returnil still has to keep track of where on the disk the original files still reside.
    - If new files are added or existing files modified, then new file sys info is created in the memory clone. The new or modified files must be stored physically on disk somewhere. Upon reboot, since the real file system is not changed, the OS is unaware these files ever existed, so they do not appear. However they did exist physically on disk from the cloned session since people have been able to recover said files with forensic software. During these operations, Returnil must remember where original files reside so the physical disk sectors are not overwritten by the virtual session.

    This brings me to my hypothetical situation question. Say you have a small system partition, like 4 Gb. As an experiment, fill the drive up with data, say large DVD files or something, until there is a small amount of space left, like 200 Mb. Now start Returnil. Bear in mind there is only 200 Mb of physical disk space left. Delete files in Returnil freeing up 1 Gb of disk space. Keep in mind there is still only 200 Mb of ACTUAL disk space remaining.

    What would happen at this point if you tried to download 800 Mb of data to the system drive? There is not actually any room for this much data on the drive, even though the Returnil cloned file system says there is 1 Gb free.

    So what would happen? Granted this is an unlikely situation, but an interesting one nonetheless.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2007
  9. Coldmoon

    Coldmoon Returnil Moderator

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    Hi,
    Sorry for the late reply - Long post ahead

    Long View asked:
    There are no special steps to take other than making sure the System Protection/Session Lock feature is off.

    Riverrun,
    Thank you for your reply to ratchet and you are correct.

    aigle said:
    Hi aigle, dukebluedevil, and innerpeace,
    For now, there are no plans to add this to Returnil. Though there are more reasons for this, the most critical are:

    1) Added complexity
    2) Serious startup performance issues
    3) Large storage requirements

    We have been discussing a potential restoration solution that we plan to explore as soon as the schedule and resources allow.

    Long View reported:
    We are working on a feature that should have the added benefit of addressing this issue. I do not have a date for the next Beta series yet, but this solution is scheduled to be included within the early releases.

    Bromide reported:
    Thank you for the information – I will give the team a heads up on this as they are working on a solution that will be included in the next Beta series.

    Mike
     
  10. WindBlade

    WindBlade Registered Member

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    Hi!
    May I make a suggestion that I feel will be quite useful..
    I noticed that if I activate Session Lock, my settings in Windows will not be saved after I restart my computer... THat means that, the icons in my Quick Launch is not saved, the Folders that are open (via Explorer) are not relaunched the next time I restart etc.

    This behaviour can be considered "normal" as when shutting down, the settings are not saved on the real Harddisk. Thus, may I suggest that a "Save Settings" checkbox or a prompt be implemented so that the user can choose to Save the Settings before going into Virtual Mode..

    Also, just to add, is there any updates regarding the PerfectDisk compatibility bug?

    Thanks..
     
  11. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Thanks for the prompt reply Coldmoon.
     
  12. nanana1

    nanana1 Frequent Poster

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    As some have already requested, the winning future feature is to be able to session unlock without a reboot and all changes made between the time a session is lock and the time the session is unlocked will NOT be retained after Windows is restarted again.
     
  13. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    If they can do what you want without messing things up for me or producing bloatware then fine. Personally I have system protection on all the time and just
    occasionally off to allow for changes. I took a great deal of trouble to move profiles etc setting things up the way I wanted and now have no need for vitrual partitions or even session lock.
     
  14. Riverrun

    Riverrun Registered Member

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    Nice work, Longview, I wish I were that adept. I'd like to leave System Protection on all the time.
     
  15. tradetime

    tradetime Registered Member

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    Have been using this program for a couple of days and initially I quite like it. However after reboot tonight it seems to have developed a mind of its own, namely it has changed it's settings. It was setup to mount VP at boot. (which incidently I think if I remember correctly was actually the default) It has unchecked this option, and not mounted. In fact as I look further it has decided to uncheck every option, interesting.

    During the boot the following two Returnil Errors are flashed on the screen ERROR 149012 and ERROR 189037

    My OS XP sp2
    Running Avast!, Windows Defender, SSM, Sygate PF

    Further to my last, although the icon appears on the task bar attempting to actvate session lock returns an error "The Device is not ready" It would appear that I, or something on my machine has broken it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
  16. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    This is why i use the free trial version of windows server 2003. I just install it in virtual pc then use the xp conversion tool to convert it to be like windows xp. One slight drawback is it only works for 6 months but you can just reinstall it again. I love freebies :)
     
  17. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    I like Returnil but still is hard for me to pass up Power Shadow

    Disc deterioration is no issue for me and in fact never yet experienced any problems with one even after taxing it pretty severely with various malwars + rootkits etc.

    It's a hard sell for me even though it's free but since i can easily use other second party virtual discs Returnil although very good just isn't enough to convince me to switch.

    Nice new proggy though.
     
  18. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

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    Hi Easter, how have ya been :)? Now you know that PS 2.6 doesn't protect the MBR like Returnil does :p . I still have PS 2.8.2 installed (which protects the MBR), but I have been afraid to try it since I installed RVS. Returnil RVS is a nice app and I'm glad to see it is continuing to be supported and improved.

    @ tradetime, I have seen the settings change after a reboot also, but usually accompanied with Returnil not being registered and no icon in the system tray. I have to re-enter the key to get it to work, but I haven't experienced this lately. They are working on a fix for this.
     
  19. tradetime

    tradetime Registered Member

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    Hi Innerpeace, you are spot on, just checked, no serial number, and I have no idea what it was. Ho hum FD-ISR to the rescue.

    Ah found the key. Thanx for the info Innerpeace, irritating little bug, but not the end of the world, still like the feel of the app.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  20. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    Hi innerpeace and thanks.

    Yeah, RETURNIL is a really welcome app without a doubt. I cover the MBR differently (manually) so it poses no real risk here even though with Returnil that's included as it should be.

    I'm one of those like herbalist that stick to the old tried and tested apps with no other reason to switch. What works and proves solid i hang tight to. LoL
     
  21. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

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    I don't have a recovery program so I just uninstalled RVS and downloaded a new copy. Then I copied and pasted the serial code and serial number to a text file for safe keeping. Of course I have the free personal version though. I don't know why I didn't do it the first time o_O . I hope that helps and works for you. Mike said they are testing a version that will fix this.

    @ Easter, I knew you had everything covered ;). I just wanted to say hi and devil you a little bit :). I know what your saying about apps that are tried and tested. I seem to be collecting too many at the moment Lol.

    Cheers, innerpeace
     
  22. tradetime

    tradetime Registered Member

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    It does of course beg the question.........if you are running a program that prevents changes, how does it lose its serial number, surely that would be a change in itself?
     
  23. Coldmoon

    Coldmoon Returnil Moderator

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    Hello tradetime,
    The errors you see are all related and are a consequence of the configurations file being damaged:

    ERROR 149012 = Configuration file is damaged/corrupted
    ERROR 189037 = Configuration file failed to load

    Though the "Device is not ready" can happen for other reasons, in this case it is directly related to the corruption and subsequent failure of the configurations file to load.

    Does this happen every time or is it intermitent/random?

    Mike

    EDITS: Spelling
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  24. tradetime

    tradetime Registered Member

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    Hi Mike,
    brief history, downloaded and installed, everything was flawless, did a few restarts over the course of several hours, again no problems wahtsoever, then let it run for about 36 hrs, in session lock. Decided to reboot the system and got the aforementioned errors. so just the once in several reboots.

    Innerpeace mentioned the serial number issue, so I looked and it was missing, having the luxuary of FD-ISR to bail out if there was a big problem I decided to simply run the installation again without uninstalling, was warned as I ran it that there was already an installation there, told it to go ahead and the next screen showed the serial number, so I copied that and cancelled the installation. Fired up the already installed version and entered the serial number and everything seemed fine, until I renabled the password protection. Then it would not accept my password.
    First thing springs to mind is that I must have been using the worng password, personally I'm pretty sure I was using the right one, but I wouldn't want to stake my life on it :) anyways, rolled back to previous snapshot and installed a new copy this morning, so far so good, 4 reboots and still ok, have noted the serial number this time.

    Just to clarify, everything was centered around the same event, ie first the errors on boot, accompanied by all the settings checkboxes being blank and the system not ready error.
     
  25. Coldmoon

    Coldmoon Returnil Moderator

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    Hi tradetime,
    What are the specs on your system and is it a desktop or laptop? Also during the 36 hours in Session Lock, was this just on standby or was the system hybernating?
     
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