VMWare to test if software is malicious?

Basically my question is, if I install VMware on my machine and use it to run a virtual windows machine, could I use this machine to test if software is malicious.

Say I receive an exe file and am concern it might cause catastrophic damage to my system if it is run on my machine, could it run it on the vmware machine safely without causing any damage to the host?
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zzhang2006ProfessorAsked:
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ComputerTechieCommented:
yes we program and test new software all the time this way. we can crash the vm machine with little effect on the host.

CT
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xtreminatorDIYerCommented:
Using VMware it is possible to test ur suspicious software in guest OS.

u have to make sure before testing software in giest os

-- remove any foleder/file sharing between guest os and host os.
-- disconnect all mapped drive from guest os.
-- Disable NIC if possible during testing.
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JT92677Commented:
As previously mentioned, VMware is a  great solution to software testing.

Use the "Snapshot" feature to make a snapshot of your virtual machine before installing software you want to test.

In the VMware VM/Settings/Options/Guest Isolation  uncheck both boxes that allow copy/paste between the virtual and host machine.

In VMware client machine, Right Click "My Network Places" select Properties, then Right Click the adapter and "Disable" it -- this is VERY important for viruses that know how to propagate across a network.

To get your program into the VM machine, I use an ISO image creating program, in my case I use "Ultra-ISO" -- this allows me to create an ISO image of the file I want to install.   In VMware setup the CD ROM to use an ISO image, attach the image you created to the VM machine. You can turn it on after your Virtual XP machine is running and install from there.

This keeps the program from having access to any hardware on your host computer, and VMware does an excellent job isolating the virtual machine from your host machine.

When done with testing, you probably have some virus scanning or malware scanning program you can run on the virtual machine to be sure something isn't lurking there.

You can then use the snapshot manager to restore your Virtual "testing" machine back to the state before you installed the software you have questions about.

I realize this is a summary of what others have suggested, but I thought you might want some additional detail about exactly how to do it safely and to use the snapshot manager to keep your testbed Virtual machine in a known state.

Have fun

Jeff
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zzhang2006ProfessorAuthor Commented:
Thank You
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