Time Freeze makes virtual systems easy

Protect your PC with virtualization using this freeware.

No doubt you suspect your Windows PC of hidden talents, and one of the coolest is virtualization. It clones your system, creating fully working copies that you can use normally (or abnormally) without risking your "real" system. Toolwiz Time Freeze makes virtualization very easy to use. It can also protect your files and folders from changes and provide password protection.

Time Freeze has a simple interface for starting and stopping its main features as well as adding files to the File Protection feature (Time Freeze warns not to include Windows system files) and enabling password protection or changing your password. There's a small, optional "toolbar" that merely displays the program's status on the desktop, but it's helpful if you switch between modes a lot. Most of the time, the program's system tray icon handles all the action.

Except for the toolbar and system tray, there's no indication when Time Freeze's virtual system is active, except for a very slight performance lag that will be familiar to anyone who's messed around with virtual machines; it's nothing serious or even annoying, but you can feel it. We ran CCleaner, deleted the files it found, and then exited Time Freeze. The program has two exit options: reject all changes, which requires a reboot, or accept all changes, which can take a minute or two. We chose the first option, but our BIOS called a boot error when none of our disks showed up. Hmm! A hard reboot called up Checkdisk, which found no errors, and Windows opened normally, though our Google preferences had disappeared and our desktop background was corrupted. But when we ran CCleaner, the files we'd deleted in protected mode were still there, so Time Freeze did its primary job. A second run-through also caused a boot failure. But we had no problems when we exited Time Freeze while accepting all changes, or with the File Protection feature.

Despite a few bugs, we really like what Time Freeze is doing here, taking advantage of your system's built-in but little-used capabilities to offer a truly useful new feature. It's a work in progress, but worth keeping an eye on.

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