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Author Topic: how to run programs without altering the host pc  (Read 3911 times)

kalos

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how to run programs without altering the host pc
« on: December 07, 2011, 09:48:01 PM »
hello!

I want to operate some programs in a pc and at the same time I dont want to alter in any way that pc (create or change files, settings, registry, etc)

programs like firefox, acrobat pdf, etc

portable versions would be an option, but I am unsure if they are made not to alter the host pc

I was thinking of sandoboxie, or any other alternative

any suggestion?

thanks!

Eóin

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 06:05:28 AM »
Well sandboxie will do it if it's already installed on the host PC. Portable apps should work too, that is the basic idea of them, but they don't necessarily provide guarantees to that effect.

Renegade

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 08:04:54 AM »
Have you thought about using a VM?
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kalos

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 08:24:03 AM »
Have you thought about using a VM?

my previous experience with VM (admittedly long time ago) was disappointing due to the lag of responsiveness

any better option than sandboxie??

Renegade

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 08:56:39 AM »
Computers have come a long way since in a short time. You might want to give it a spin. You can get some free VMs and players as well, so there's no risk to try it out, other than your time.
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40hz

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 09:15:57 AM »
Just my 2 based on my experiences...

Sandboxie works very well as long as your machine has enough 'oomph!' to run it effectively. Any dual-core (or better) chip with a gigabyte+ of RAM should do fine.

But as Renegade pointed out, VMs are an even better alternative if your PC has the power to run one. Sandboxes and sandbox techniques are a bit of a hack. VMs are a much cleaner and don't play weird shell games with your operating system in order to work their magic.

If you can do VM - definitely go that route. :)

mouser

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 09:35:15 AM »
Another vote here in favor of virtual machines.

PhilB66

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 09:48:01 AM »
Well sandboxie will do it if it's already installed on the host PC. Portable apps should work too, that is the basic idea of them, but they don't necessarily provide guarantees to that effect.

There is a portable sandboxie.

40hz

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 10:02:45 AM »
Well sandboxie will do it if it's already installed on the host PC. Portable apps should work too, that is the basic idea of them, but they don't necessarily provide guarantees to that effect.

There is a portable sandboxie.

AFAIK the only problem is it's an old version (V2.2.2.3) last released in late 2007. The current release is 3.62 which just came out last month.

This is what the developers currently have to say about portability and how Sandboxie (sort of) addresses it:

Quote
Portable Sandbox

The revised layout of the sandbox that is introduced in version 2.80 allows for greater portability of the sandbox across computers. By redirecting programs to create sandboxed objects which have a nonspecific path, it is possible to populate a sandbox on one computer, then carry this sandbox to another computer and keep using it.

For example, consider installing a game program to a portable device such as a USB memory stick which is mounted as drive P. The game may install its files to a folder on drive P, but any menu shortcuts it creates will be installed in the Windows Start menu of the local computer, outside drive P. And any registry keys it creates will also be created in the Windows registry, also outside the USB device.

By contrast, if you set the container folder to drive P (for instance P:\Sandbox), then install the game into the (sandboxed) drive C, then all objects created by the installation will be redirected to drive P.

You can then carry the USB drive to another computer where Sandboxie is installed, and set the container folder on that other computer to drive P. Through the Sandboxie Start menu, you will see the menu shortcuts installed by the game, and when you start it, the game will find its settings as they were recorded in the sandboxed registry.

Note that Sandboxie itself is not portable software, but it facilitates the portability of a large number of applications.

 :)


kalos

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 10:06:04 AM »
thanks for your replies

which would be the most lightweight VM? if portable, it would be best

Carol Haynes

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 10:24:14 AM »
How about http://www.vbox.me/

Haven't tried it but you could give it a spin

PhilB66

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 10:56:58 AM »
Well sandboxie will do it if it's already installed on the host PC. Portable apps should work too, that is the basic idea of them, but they don't necessarily provide guarantees to that effect.

There is a portable sandboxie.

AFAIK the only problem is it's an old version (V2.2.2.3) last released in late 2007.

Wrong. There are a few portable launchers for Sandboxie. The latest was released earlier this month. Search http://www.sandboxie.com/phpbb/index.php

40hz

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 01:21:28 PM »
Wrong. There are a few portable launchers for Sandboxie. The latest was released earlier this month. Search http://www.sandboxie.com/phpbb/index.php

Duly noted.  :Thmbsup:

Sorry. Miscommunication. I though you were referring to an official as opposed to user contributed version.

To my way of thinking (because I have clients to support and report to) there's a big difference between an application designed from the ground up to be a portable app, and one that's isn't, but was kludged to act like one.

When it comes to applications that provide system-level functions and services, I don't trust kludges or hacks. Far too many opportunities for error. I've seen many cases where one appeared to be working correctly - but was not. Then there's the security issue. Since Sandboxie needs to be granted access to fairly low-level hooks and services to function, you need to trust it. I don't have a problem with the developer Ronen Tzur. I'm not so trusting of somebody I've never heard of posting a link to a launcher over on a site that's in Russian. Call me paranoid if you like. I make no excuses or apologies, although I'm more inclined to characterise my attititude as prudent.  ;D

Further, with something like Sandboxie, I'm sure its developer has more than enough talent to code an official portable version of this product. The fact the developer hasn't tends to make me think there are likely to be very good technical reasons why it's not a swift idea.


Just my 2. :)
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 01:27:11 PM by 40hz »

4wd

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2011, 07:57:28 PM »
Instead of having a completely portable OS, (eg. Portable VirtualBox), you could try MojoPac which allows you to have your applications portable, (or entire Desktop), but uses the underlying Windows OS.

Requires Admin rights, (same as VirtualBox), and it says it requires Windows XP x86 but you may have no trouble running it on Vista/7 using compatibility mode...or not.

sword

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Re: how to run programs without altering the host pc
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2011, 03:50:20 PM »
Re: "...any other alternative.":

'Live' Linux CD/DVD/USB run entirely in RAM and have a growing list of uses. See distrowatch.com