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Windows 7: Windows Sandbox Mode


27 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Windows Sandbox Mode

Hey there,

I was playing around with different operating systems, but at the end I just want to go back to my good old Windows 7. But I have one problem and I seek for help here. I do not know if this is the right place, but Backup and Restore sounds good to me. So here we go.

My problem is, that I always install lots of crap and I have to reinstall my OS about every month. That's really annoying, I have to install the same software again, configure everything how I want it again and in a month I have to do it again. So I thought about how I could change that and I had to think about the computers at my school. You could save everything to your personal folder, but what you save elsewhere will be deleted and installations will not stay on the system. The user is in a sandbox. That would be perfect for me, I install everything and it stays like that, forever.

Bit how does that work? What do I need? And are there cons I should think of first? I hope somebody here does know something about that and I also hope you guys don't get mad at me for posting this in the wrong section. Any help is really appreciated!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Feb 2012   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

A Sandbox is really only for temporary opreration. When you close the Sandbox or reboot, everything is gone unlesss you have saved it to your real system - of course after scanning it for viruses.

I think for your case, frequent imaging would be the better solution. All you need is an external disk. I suggest you use free Macrium. To get you started, have a look at my little tutorial: Imaging with free Macrium

I also suggest that you put your user data into a seperate partition. That makes the OS images smaller and faster and when you restore an image, you user data is not being changed. The user data should be backed up seperately on a regular basis too. For that you can use maging too, but sync would be faster.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Another thought is to run a windows seven VM in VirtualBox or WMWare Player for your program testing. You do need another Win 7 licence however for the VM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


28 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
A Sandbox is really only for temporary opreration. When you close the Sandbox or reboot, everything is gone unlesss you have saved it to your real system - of course after scanning it for viruses.

I think for your case, frequent imaging would be the better solution. All you need is an external disk. I suggest you use free Macrium. To get you started, have a look at my little tutorial: Imaging with free Macrium

I also suggest that you put your user data into a seperate partition. That makes the OS images smaller and faster and when you restore an image, you user data is not being changed. The user data should be backed up seperately on a regular basis too. For that you can use maging too, but sync would be faster.
Thank you for your answer!
This sounds like a good solution and I will probably do it. I just have some questions there: Can I save an image to a partition on the hard drive my system is using? And what's the size for a Win 7 image?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Another thought is to run a windows seven VM in VirtualBox or WMWare Player for your program testing. You do need another Win 7 licence however for the VM.
Thanks for your reply, too!
It's not that much about program testing, but the remains of installed programs. I often use software only for a few weeks before I remove it from my system but most of the installers just leave tons of configuration files, images and whatever behind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FizzeBu View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
A Sandbox is really only for temporary opreration. When you close the Sandbox or reboot, everything is gone unlesss you have saved it to your real system - of course after scanning it for viruses.

I think for your case, frequent imaging would be the better solution. All you need is an external disk. I suggest you use free Macrium. To get you started, have a look at my little tutorial: Imaging with free Macrium

I also suggest that you put your user data into a seperate partition. That makes the OS images smaller and faster and when you restore an image, you user data is not being changed. The user data should be backed up seperately on a regular basis too. For that you can use maging too, but sync would be faster.
Thank you for your answer!
This sounds like a good solution and I will probably do it. I just have some questions there: Can I save an image to a partition on the hard drive my system is using? And what's the size for a Win 7 image?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Another thought is to run a windows seven VM in VirtualBox or WMWare Player for your program testing. You do need another Win 7 licence however for the VM.
Thanks for your reply, too!
It's not that much about program testing, but the remains of installed programs. I often use software only for a few weeks before I remove it from my system but most of the installers just leave tons of configuration files, images and whatever behind.
In that case whs's solution sounds what you need.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FizzeBu View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
A Sandbox is really only for temporary opreration. When you close the Sandbox or reboot, everything is gone unlesss you have saved it to your real system - of course after scanning it for viruses.

I think for your case, frequent imaging would be the better solution. All you need is an external disk. I suggest you use free Macrium. To get you started, have a look at my little tutorial: Imaging with free Macrium

I also suggest that you put your user data into a seperate partition. That makes the OS images smaller and faster and when you restore an image, you user data is not being changed. The user data should be backed up seperately on a regular basis too. For that you can use maging too, but sync would be faster.
Thank you for your answer!
This sounds like a good solution and I will probably do it. I just have some questions there: Can I save an image to a partition on the hard drive my system is using? And what's the size for a Win 7 image?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Another thought is to run a windows seven VM in VirtualBox or WMWare Player for your program testing. You do need another Win 7 licence however for the VM.
Thanks for your reply, too!
It's not that much about program testing, but the remains of installed programs. I often use software only for a few weeks before I remove it from my system but most of the installers just leave tons of configuration files, images and whatever behind.
In that case whs's solution sounds what you need.
Indeed.
I gave you a reputation though, thanks for your time
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
I just have some questions there: Can I save an image to a partition on the hard drive my system is using? And what's the size for a Win 7 image?
You cannot save an image to the same partition that you are imaging. You can, however, save an image to another partition on the same physical disk.

Saving to the same physical disk is usually not recommended because that does not protect you against a failure of that disk. The best is to image to another internal or external (e.g. USB attached) disk.

As to the size - figure about 60% of the actual data that you image. Example: You have a 200GB C:\ partition which contains 50GB of data. The image size would be appr. 30GB (60% of 50GB).

The total partition size does not play a role for the image size - it does, however, play a role when you want to restore the image. That can only be done to a partition which is the same size (or bigger) as the partition from where the image came - at least with free Macrium. The pro version of Macrium can also restore to a smaller partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #8

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2012   #9

Windows 2000 Pro SP4+ / Windows 7 Pro SP1 (both 32-bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FizzeBu View Post
My problem is, that I always install lots of crap and I have to reinstall my OS about every month. That's really annoying ...
You didn't say, but I'm guessing your problem is with the uninstall. You're finding it's not (yet!) working as advertised (after all these years of hoped-for improvement)? And you'd rather reinstall the OS, than having to 'dig out' the remains, manually?

Or, you mean, you're having a problem with winsxs going out of control? For that, yes, the cure is periodic reinstallation (or a different operating system ?). That can't be cured, only endured.

Years ago, after a problem with a certain proprietary video player ... it had to be pulled out of the Registry by hand ... I started using monitored installs, with the corresponding uninstalls, for everything. I also started avoiding RealPlayer, but that's another story ...

I started this back in the days of Windows98SE, and am happy to get your confirmation that continuing this with Windows 7 is still worth my time and effort. IMO, the opacity of the Windows Registry is the culprit, when combined with poorly-written software.

My current first-choice is Randy Hall's Primo/CheckUnIn combination -- because it's small, free and it lets you see what it's doing.

The monitored install file generated by Primo is read by CheckUnIn, following a regular uninstallation. Two files are generated by the latter that are used to automatically pull-out whatever the MS Windows uninstallation left behind.

The nice things is, you can examine these files to see how sloppy (or rarely, how neat) the MS Windows un-installation was. Then just run them directly: one a batch file, and the other a .reg file. Then your file system and your Registry is cleaned.

The next item was already mentioned, but only in a Wikipedia link. Here's a bit more detail on its working, for anyone who's never used it.

If I'm not sure if a program is a 'keeper' I set up a sandbox for it in Sandboxie. Other than sandboxing things that touch the Internet, the utility's original purpose, it can also be used to load and execute (most) programs, for evaluation purposes.

Deleting the sandbox removes all traces of the installation, that would normally have been written to the filesystem and to the Registry.

With these two, not only do I not have to periodically reinstall the operating system, but it continues to work like new. Windows 2000 lasted (and is still lasting) about six years, and I hope Windows 7, with care, will do the same.

Let us know if this solves your problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows Sandbox Mode




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