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Last post Author Topic: Returnil Virtual System  (Read 14319 times)

Curt

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Returnil Virtual System
« on: June 09, 2007, 07:08:45 AM »
http://www.returnilv...nilvirtualsystem.htm
http://www.majorgeek...om/download5451.html

I don't have the required technical insight to test this (I don't even understand HOW it can be done if there is no free RAM), but I really think "someone" should give it a thorough "member mini review", as the idea itself sounds interesting:

Quote
Simple, Smart and Strong Approach to PC Safety

Note From the Authors:
“All testers are eligible (by e-mail request) for free 30-day licensing during the Public Beta. Moreover, those testers who provide the best feedback will receive a free, one-year license with our gratitude for helping make this Public Beta a success.

It is time to reject outdated thinking and get proactive with your system integrity protection! By participating in the Public Beta, you will be verifying and supporting a completely new approach to computer security. Moreover, you will be helping yourself by discovering that security does not have to be complicated to be effective and relevant!

We have completed work on two new features we will be adding this coming week for testing. The first is an option that will allow the authorized user to change their language preferences from within the RVS GUI. The second feature will add an optional button to Internet Explorer that allows the user to turn on System Protection from within their browser. Fire Fox and Opera support are still under development, but we should have something ready for testing within the next couple of weeks.”

ReturnilCover.GIF

Returnil Virtual System is a powerful technology that clones a copy of your Windows system into RAM. It is quite simply the most advanced Virtual Partition solution available. Returnil Virtual System protects your computer from harmful viruses, spyware and unwanted programs, preserves your computer settings, and ensures your Internet Privacy. Simply restart your computer to erase all changes.

When the Returnil protection is ON, your Windows system is running on a virtual partition meaning that every single change in the system partition actually takes place in the memory. Therefore all data and modifications will be lost after your system is rebooted. When the Returnil Protection is OFF, you can install or remove any programs, create documents or download your favorite music as you normally do. All changes in the system partition are saved to your real hard drive. By restarting you PC, Returnil will make your system partition identical and fully functional according to the original configurations.

Main Features:
· Stops the danger of an online attack
· Protects your system from any attack by Viruses, Trojans, Worms, Adware, Spyware and Hackers
· Ensures and protects your internet privacy
· Saves you time and money by ensuring that your hard drive will not be infected with any harmful malware or that any of your data will be lost
· No need for regular daily virus and spyware database updates
· No need for the necessary disk defragmentation of your system partition
· Can read emails that may contain viruses or spyware ensuring that your important messages will not be missed
· Saves time that is needed to erase Cookies, URL history, Temporary File Cache, Recycle Bin, Clipboard, Windows Log Files, Windows Temporary Files
· Leaves absolutely no traces of your computer activities
· Eliminates all activities even if your computer is powered-off or crashes
· Eliminates the danger of testing new software
· Offers stronger, simpler and smarter protection for your PC
· Speeds up your web surfing and computer processing
· Seamless integrated with Windows Operating System
· Easy to use and setup

Returnil Virtual System is subscription based starting @ $24.95 for a single user license per year. This download is a 15 day trial.

Supports W2K, XP, 2000/2003 Server, Vista 32 bit


Returnil.GIFReturnil Virtual System

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2007, 07:52:36 AM »
Sounds remarkably like Faronics DeepFreeze except that that is used in education and business and is an established solid product (not beta). Faronics has an annual update subscription but is not subscription based (ie. it will continue to work if you don't update)!
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 08:02:31 AM by Carol Haynes »

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2007, 08:55:55 AM »
Yes, Carol, this sounds very much the same. Only difference I could find is that the freezer is targeting multi-user environments only, and the return thingy seems to be targeting single-users. I expect the subscription will prove to be a problem if Returnil really think they can charge the users every year regardsless of updates.  But they are both way too expensive to update, I think; this is not some daily updating anti-virus program, is it.


But still; I think the idea sounds great - though I don't understand the consequences if you only have very little free RAM:
Quote
Returnil Virtual System is a powerful technology that clones a copy of your Windows system into RAM.
:tellme:
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 09:16:05 AM by Curt »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2007, 09:53:12 AM »
DeepFreeze Standard is designed for standalone workstations (ie. single users) at $36 which doesn't seem too expensive and includes 12 months of updates. The Enterprise version is really aimed at organisations with central administration.

I haven't tried DeepFreeze (though I know of schools that have used it) but I can't see that it would be terribly memory hungry - presumably as memory fills up some of the 'session' data is written to disc and then discarded when you reboot.

Anyone tried either of these products?

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2007, 10:14:27 AM »
$36 and $25 are okay prices! They may even be cheap!  :up:
It is the year after year price that is offending me.    :down:

--

Quote
"Deep Freeze Standard is changing the way IT Professionals protect small multi-user environments. Simple, robust, and cost effective Deep Freeze Standard is ideal for computing environments with 10 or less workstations."

- they may want to target the single user as well, but they don't say so.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2007, 10:56:16 AM »
Actually I can't find anything about ongoing pricing on the Faronics site for one off purchases. I'll drop them an email and ask.

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2007, 11:35:41 AM »
It is a little hard to figure out, but it seems updates 1) are free, or 2) are called "maintenance". Take a look inside the Buy Now > (find product) > Maintenance Package > "Ouote Generator" (click thumbnail):

Faronics.GIFReturnil Virtual System


20% of $35 is okay, I think

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2007, 11:43:47 AM »
20% of $35 is okay, I think

I am not at all sure they ever had the private single-user in mind:

PRICE CATEGORY:
category.GIF

A little strange there is no "private user", only this "non-profit".

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2007, 12:04:20 PM »
Yes it is confusing - go to Purchase and then click on the "Online Store" link on the left of the menu bar - that gives the individual products which come with 12 months. There is no mention there of extending the 12 month period on that page though.

It is a little hard to figure out, but it seems updates 1) are free, or 2) are called "maintenance". Take a look inside the Buy Now > (find product) > Maintenance Package > "Ouote Generator"

20% of $35 is okay, I think

Strange I can't find that page at all - when I follow your instructions I can't find "Maintenance Package" listed ????

I have emailed them to clarify and I will post their reply when I get one. If it is 20% then that is fine.

f0dder

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2007, 12:23:09 PM »
Those systems very likely use virtual memory (swapping to disk - either their own system or depending on windows built-in stuff) when running low on memory... otherwise things would get really nasty. The technology is cute, and shows just how flexible the NT driver system is...
- carpe noctem

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2007, 12:39:59 PM »
 :-[  sorry!

1) Buy Now >

2):
1.GIF


3):
2.GIF


4) (euro):
3.GIF


5):
Faronics.GIFReturnil Virtual System

I am looking forward to their answer; Fine initiative, Carol!

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2007, 12:42:58 PM »
... The technology is cute, and shows just how flexible the NT driver system is...

Did you try one, f0dder? Will I risk ruining my PC, or do you think it safe for an IT dummy to handle this stuff?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2007, 02:57:30 PM »
Sorry - being stupid I hadn't noticed in the purchase form that there were pop up links in the item descriptions. That looks very like the maintenance agreement for volume licensing - we'll see what they say if/when I get a reply.

Personally I would not want to be a beta tester with this sort of software unless you have a spare computer dedicated to trying out software. On a live system if anything goes wrong your system could be completely stuffed!!

I wouldn't have any problem with trying out DeepFreeze (given that they supply to large companies and educational establishments the software must be pretty robust). I would set aside some time to play with it when you don't need to use your computer for real and make sure you use the manual. While DeepFreeze is active make sure you don't do anything that you want to be permanent. It make take a while to work out which parts of your system you want to leave free to save things in!

It shouldn't be a problem to use your computer as normal - just follow the instructions to 'thaw' your system.

Probably best to have a decent backup before you start too.

I suspect this will work in a similar way to GoBack (used to be Roxio and is now Symantec). That kept a small hidden partition on each drive that was monitored to store changes during a session and allowed you to revert your system quickly and easily to an earlier state. In some respects these applications are a bit simpler because they only revert to one set point (ie. the last time your system was frozen).

I can't help feeling that if you are the kind of person that keeps your system running for days, weeks or months without shutting down or rebooting then it will take up large amounts of disk space and the reversion won't be quick - but I may be wrong on that as I haven't tried them.

f0dder

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2007, 03:14:08 PM »
I certainly wouldn't beta-test this kind of software on a live PC - it does hook some pretty low-level things to do what it does, and if that's not stable, well... :)
- carpe noctem

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2007, 06:54:23 PM »
Thanks for the advices, both of you. As I started out; I don't have the tech' insight to be a beta tester on such a product, and I am not going to risk my PC for some mysterious "Virtual Partition solution" that I don't understand. I was merely thinking 'someone' should test these apps and tell us how they perform.

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I never leave my PC open for long - on the contrary; I usually restarts several times a day.

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2007, 06:43:31 PM »
Well, beta-testing that kind of software should really be done in vmware/virtualpc/parallels, and on some "scratch box" you don't mind having to reinstall from scratch. Once it's stable, though, it could be very useful for various tasks. DeepFreeze (which is solid by now, afaik) is pretty good for schools, internet kiosks, gaming cafés etc.
- carpe noctem

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2007, 03:24:11 PM »
Got a prompt response from Faronics about maintenance costs for single purchases of DeepFreeze. Here is the response in full (I have just removed personal contact data):

Quote
Dear Carol,

Thank you for contacting Faronics!

The cost of our Maintenance package is basically 20% off the total cost of your license. For example, if you buy 1 copy of the Deep Freeze Standard with 1-year maintenance included at $35.95, 20% off that price would be $5.99, which would be the price to pay to renew that maintenance package the following year. If you buy 3 licenses at $107.85 total, the price of the Maintenance Package for all three would be $17.97.

You can buy more than 1 license on our Online store. You just need to enter the number of licenses you want to buy in the Quantity box, and update your cart. We do not provide discount on licenses purchased on our Online store. Our volume pricing starts at 10 licenses and more. If you need 10 licenses or more, please contact us and one of our Sales Representative can provide you a quote.

I hope I answered all your questions. Feel free to contact us again if you have other inquiries.

Best regards,

Nathalie Bussieres
Customer Service Representative

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2007, 04:52:33 PM »
$6 per year is okay with me.  :up:

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2007, 04:55:02 PM »
That's what I thought ;)

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2007, 05:07:47 PM »
Well, my next question must of course be, if the deep freezer then actually is using the same principles as Returnil, Virtual_Partition and Write_To_RAM, or did we just assume this?? They really don't tell.
 :tellme:

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2007, 05:22:36 PM »
I finally found a line telling something on the subject:
Quote
Flexibility Options

  • Create a virtual partition on a workstation that can be used to store programs, save files, or make permanent changes

I never understood this talk of a "virtual partition", but suddenly remembered that I have some GB I cannot use because I have asked Windows to set them apart for the System Recovery. Is this the same thing?
 :tellme:

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2007, 05:34:45 PM »
Not really sure - it could be disk space on your main partition that is used in a transient and hidden manner. Some backup utilities do this sort of thing (eg. the one supplied by Iomega with their drives). These folders may or may not be visible to the user via Explorer but they are not designed for user tampering.

Alternatively, it could be a totally separate partition which is simply hidden from the user. These are quite common - certain manufacturers use them to keep a 'clean' factory settings setup to allow for quick and easy restoration of your system to the state in which it was supplied to you. Other software uses this sort of thing too to store quick access backups (Acronis True Image has a similar facility - which I don't particularly recommend in that particular instance, Symantec GoBack uses this idea). These parttions are not seen in general use (ie. they don't have a drive letter) but if you use a partition manager to look at your disk contents you can generally see them - usually with a special 'hidden' property enabled to stop windows assigning a drive letter. Sometimes these partitions are formatted in non-standard ways so that if you deliberately make them visible you will not be able to access them easily.

I don't know what method DeepFreeze or Returnil use but they must be using disk space in one form or another to record changes to your system - no system would have sufficient physical memory to sustain this sort of application if all changes were stored in RAM - eg. it would be quite easy to create a file that was too big to fit in memory (esp. if you do anything with video) and then everything would be stuffed.

Curt

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2007, 05:58:29 PM »
Thanks a lot for this 'extra' explanation; it helped quite a bit.  :)

The real reason  why I became interested is that I was thinking this technique could make my  Windows respond a lot faster. There is still something basically wrong with this 'new' PC of mine: Whenever I open Explorer (when not already open) it will take at least 20 sometimes even 40 seconds for it to open. I have been very disappointed with such misbehaviour,[Edit: -because it was also slow responding when I got it home and there almost weren't any programs installed-], but in the end I will expect this phenomenon to be a consequence of lack of RAM. And in my mind the need for this deep freezer thingy was born. I am going to get more RAM, 512 MB, but I don't expect XP suddenly to be all fast responding, without any other solution besides more memory. Hence my sudden interest in these "virtual partition" and "Write to RAM" mysteries. I promise that I will get the memory before maybe the program.

Thanks for clearing (some) things up!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 06:02:55 PM by Curt »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2007, 06:12:13 PM »
I'd guess that it is much more likely to be caused by installing too many applications that hook into Explorer and the Shell.

Download ShellEx and have a look at what has been installed into your shell - I bet you will be surprised at the amount of stuff that appears there. If there is anything you find that you no longer use try uninstalling it from Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs.

You can use ShellEx to temporarily disable most of these things. It all looks very complicated but it is pretty easy to just disable everything and then re-enable stuff a bit a time.

I'd suggest you do that (ie. disable everything in ShellEx) and see if your problem is solved by opening My Documents - if it is you can re-enable extensions a few at a time and see when the problem reappears and so track down what is causing the problem. Just leave ShellEx open on screen and cloase all Explorer windows - enable a few items and then open My Documents and right click somewhere in the window - if it opens quickly and the menu pops up quickly you can be pretty sure everything is working so far, if not disable the things you just enabled and enable them again a couple at atime and check My Documents again.

It isn't always that simple - sometimes extension interfere with each other and you need to be a bit of a detective to work out which one is actually causing the problem.

If you establish which one is causing the problem see if you can figure out which application would have installed it and then uninstall that applicationa dn reinstall it - hopefully if something was corrupted it will be cured. If two apps are interefering with each other it can be more difficult and you may need to decide if you can live without one of them!

If you try this out and need some help post a screen shot.

Can I suggest you start a new thread as this is just a bit off topic!!!

Darwin

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Re: Returnil Virtual System
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2007, 10:37:32 PM »
Wow! 20% of the purchase price per year for maintenance is SWEET! I ASSUME (yes, I know, this makes an ASS out of U and ME) that where the Faronics rep has written

Quote
1-year maintenance included at $35.95, 20% off that price would be $5.99, which would be the price to pay to renew that maintenance package the following year.

OFF = OF? Otherwise rather than paying $5.99 per year for maintenance one would be looking at $39.95 less $5.99, which would be $29.96.

Just curious.
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