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If I open up the list of running processes in the Task Manager on my Windows Vista. Then I can right-click on a process and chose "Virtualization". Not much happens after that.

What does this really do? What can I use it for?

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The Task Manager Virtualization column corresponds to UAC file and registry virtualization, a compatibility feature. Please see the following article for a high-level overview of file and registry virtualization (second bullet point in the article):

http://blogs.msdn.com/uac/archive/2006/02/22/537129.aspx

For some details on when virtualization is enabled for a process, see the following comments:

http://blogs.msdn.com/uac/archive/2006/02/22/537129.aspx#549260

Source

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