System virtualization and sandboxing applications are more and more becoming a trend in the security software sector. The main benefit of virtual systems is that they protect the "real" computer system from changes made in sandboxes that programs run in.
If a virus goes wild in the sandbox then all that can be affected is the sandbox but not the rest of the computer system.
Update: Returnil Virtual System is no longer available. The company seems to have ceased operations.
Returnil takes this concept to a next level by concentrating on virtualization. The security software Returnil Virtual System 2010 Home Lux uses a combination of antivirus protection and a virtual system to protect the computer system the software is installed on.
The main difference between Returnil Virtual System 2010 and sandboxing solutions is that Returnil will create a clone of the operating system that gets loaded instead of the original one. This clone can run all applications and files that are installed on the system. They are run however in an isolated environment which means that the original operating system is not affected by malicious software, viruses and other threats.
Installation of Returnil Virtual System is thankfully not a complicated process. The user should however make sure that the computer system offers the minimum system requirements so that the software can be installed and operated properly.
The most important spec is the hard drive capacity for the installation which Returnil suggests to be 16 Gigabytes but at least twice the available computer memory)
The program itself is compatible with several Microsoft operating systems including Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows Server 2008. Another change to last year's offer is the 64-bit support that is now available for all supported operating systems.
The first step after the required system reboot at the end of the installation should lead into the program's options; Specifically into the System Safe menu.
Returnil will by default forfeit any changes made to the clone system on system shutdown or reboot. This is great for security as it ensures that the system will always be free from malware and problems as it reverts back to its original state. It is sometimes on the other hand necessary to make changes to the system, and this is why the option to save all changes is provided in that menu.
Please note that it is still possible to download files or documents for instance as they can be copied to an USB storage device or another system partition. There is even a workaround to store them on the system partition which can be found in the helpful faq that ships with Returnil.
System Safe is the virtual clone mode of the operating system. It can be turned on in the menu of the same name and does not require a restart for that operation. A restart is required once the user decides to exit the clone system and switch over to the "
Returnil's software supports the creation of a virtual hard drive that can be mounted when in System Safe mode. This is beneficial on computer systems without another partition because it ensures that the data can be saved to the virtual drive (remember data cannot be saved that easily to the drive the operating system resides on).
It is possible to configure Returnil to always boot the computer system into System Safe mode which can be an interesting option for multiple usage scenarios (e.g. public computer systems).
A file manager is provided in safe mode to access the files of the original hard drive. This comes in handy when a specific document or file needs to be accessed while in safe mode.
Returnil Virtual System 2010 Home Lux ships with a Virus Guard that protects both the standard and virtual system from virus attacks. It provides real-time protection against threats with the possibility to turn the virus protection off in case another antivirus program is installed on the computer system that should be used instead.
Virtualization is a great way of protecting the computer system from threats. Returnil Virtual System 2010 Home Lux offers a safe environment that seems ideal for public computers, lending computers to other users, family computers and even business environments.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.