Easy system snapshot software

Hi. I am looking at the most convenient way to beta-test a software without damaging my pc and to revert back to its original state in case I don't want it.
I can think of several solutions
- I can image my HDD using Acronis or similar and revert back if needed; this takes time and space
- I can use a software such as "RollBack" which records all changes and enable me to define a snapshot and rollback to it: because this software tracks all changes, it consumes resources, spaces, and generate often technical issues
- I can use a sandbox such as sandiebox but it does not really operate within the OS and can fail for some software
- I can use a virtual machine but I will need to install a fresh version of Windows which does not reflect my computer as it is

What I am looking is a software that works only when I want it; just before the installation of the new software, I run it, then install the new software and then decide if I keep the changes or not. Then close it. Everything would be seamless and be done through the windows session.

Does such a software exist?

Thanks
Jean-Christophe GALLANDKorea R&D DirectorAsked:
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gilnovConnect With a Mentor Systems AdministratorCommented:
Actually, I stand corrected. From the Deep Freeze Standard user guide:

"Computers must be Thawed for any permanent changes to take effect. Installation of software often requires one or more restarts to complete the installation."

So, in order to do what you are trying to do, you would have to start up frozen, install the beta software and test. If you don't like, just reboot and the beta app will be gone. If you do like, however, you will need to reboot in thawed state, losing the app in the process. You would have to install the beta app again while thawed and then reboot frozen to keep it for next round of testing.

User data can be saved in separate "thaw spaces" so that changes to DATA are preserved across reboots regardless of thaw state.

They do let you download a free trial. It's probably easiest just to download and see if it suits your needs.
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Benjamin VoglarIT ProCommented:
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gilnovSystems AdministratorCommented:
Check out Deep Freeze from Faronics
http://www.faronics.com/products/deep-freeze/
It's used in school labs and public libraries to do exactly what you are describing.
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Jean-Christophe GALLANDKorea R&D DirectorAuthor Commented:
Thanks
Deep Freeze looks interesting.

So I would use my PC in thawed mode. When I want to test a software, would ask to reboot in frozen mode and test.
- If I don't want to keep the software, I should restart in frozen mode; the new software will no longer show up and I can switch back to thawed mode and continue
- If I want to keep the software, what should I do?

Also if the install of the new software requires multipe reboots, how does this work?
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gilnovSystems AdministratorCommented:
You can thaw a machine to commit changes to the frozen state at any time during a logon session. There is also an administrator-selectable keyboard shortcut that lets you bypass restore on reboot to keep changes for a particular session.
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Tommy .Commented:
Is there a freeware program that works like Deep Freeze available ?
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gilnovSystems AdministratorCommented:
I just googled "freeware alternative to deepfreeze" and there were a number of suggestions among the results. Can't vouch for any as i haven't ever used them though. I'll leave the rest up to you.
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Tommy .Commented:
....... thanks for your reply.

I checked out a few programs already including Deep Freeze and I didn't like it very much.

Time Freeze is nice and simple to use, but I think RollBack RX Home serves me better as it got more options and also saves your snapshots, which means you have more time to decide if you want to restore or not.

Seems to be very fast as well and I will check it out for a while and then decide if I stick with it or not.

Thanks again .......
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