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I'm looking for a Windows application that can watch everything an install programs does to Windows, and can roll it back to what it was like before installing an application.

InCtrl5 is useful to know what an installer did, but doesn't provide a way to return the host to its previous state. I'd like to avoid having to restore a host using eg. CloneZilla just for a small application. The goal is to make it fast to test an application in a test lab.

Does someone know of an application that can do this?


Edit: I wasn't specific enough: I need a way to totally remove an application but keep all other changes I made after installing the application.


Edit: After checking a few of them, I settled on Cleanse Uninstaller, which was capable of removing the whole of an application, although it doesn't watch when it's installed.

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5 Answers

its no longer available after symentec bought it, and only works on older versions of windows, but SVS by altaris used to do this - the personal version was free. I've not actually been able to work out what they did with it - the symentec version of it seems to be a whole different beast.

Cameoyo seems an alternative -though it dosen't have the same level of integration SVS had - in any case, what you're looking for is called 'software virtualisation'

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Thanks for the infos. What I'm looking for, is a way to simply remove an application but not roll back the whole system, as I want to keep other stuff I did after installing the application. Does someone know of a good, supported application that does this (Windows 7)? –  OverTheRainbow Mar 22 '11 at 10:23
    
if SVS worked on windows 7, and was supported, it would ;p. I'm still looking for a acceptable, reasonably priced replacement for it. –  Journeyman Geek Mar 22 '11 at 14:55
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Another alternative is to create a system restore point immediately before you install the application.

Obviously this will roll back any other changes you make to the system after you install your application, but any other system would have this same problem - what to do with files that were changed both by this application and then any others you install later.

If you want to completely isolate the changes that an application makes on installation then you need to use a virtual machine or sandbox (as Tom suggests in his answer).

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Why don't you use a virtual machine or a separate OS? In real test labs they even use a different computer.

Or if you want to stick with a single OS, uninstaller tools can help you...

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I only need to manage a single application, and it must interact with other applications that will remain on the host. There are a lot of uninstaller applictions and would appreciate recommendations, either open- or closed-source. –  OverTheRainbow Mar 23 '11 at 9:11
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Do you ask to monitor only the install program activity, not the program activity, right ?

The idea is : repackage the application' setup, so you can install and remove it ad libitum.

This is a freeware tool from Dell : appdeploy-repackager

They build also a open web site, where everybody can put and download repackaged applications : www.appdeploy.com

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I read now your self-answer, using Cleanse Uninstaller. If this is the path, I prefer a manual : delete the app folder / Piriform CCleaner / sysinternals Autoruns. I don't trust non standard registry settings, and moreover I don't trust programs pretending to guess what to remove. –  Massimo Nov 27 '11 at 16:33
    
Thanks Massimo. I'll check CCleaner and Autoruns –  OverTheRainbow Nov 28 '11 at 13:20
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Revo uninstaller pro will monitor what changes are made while the program is installing and save that so you can completely be rid of it later. It costs $40 but there's a free 30 day trial period if that would work for you.

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Thanks Simon. I'll see if Revo can handle the application I'd like to totally remove from a host. –  OverTheRainbow Nov 28 '11 at 13:21
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