We use WinXP for developing.

Install product, test, done.

Install product again ... does this install work because features from the last are still there??? Who knows? Format drive, install fresh copy of WinXP, then install new product, test, done.


How can I set up WinXP to discard changes when it turns off? (I'm not interested in Restore)

3 Answers 3


This is more question is targeted for SuperUser.com but Ill answer you anyway.

Windows Steady State is exactly what you are looking for. Every time you reboot it goes back to the last state you took a snapshot.

the feature you are looking for in it is:

Windows Disk Protection – Help protect the Windows partition, which contains the Windows operating system and other programs, from being modified without administrator approval.Windows SteadyState allows you to set Windows Disk Protection to remove all changes upon restart, to remove changes at a certain date and time, or to not remove changes at all. If you choose to use Windows Disk Protection to remove changes, any changes made by shared users when they are logged on to the computer are removed when the computer is restarted

  • That sounds very similar to Restore.... Commented Sep 23, 2010 at 21:56
  • No, System Restore only restores files tracked by windows. If you put a file on the c: drive and did a rollback that file would still be on c. what this does actually does under the hood is hooks it self in to the file IO of windows. When you write a file to C instead of writing to the HD it writes it to a diff file (similar to what sandboxie does). on reboot it dumps the diff. Commented Sep 23, 2010 at 21:58

Windows Virtual PC 2007 is free, and supports snapshot disks - you can install your virtual machine, get it to a known "baseline" state, then preserve that state as a snapshot which you can roll back to at any time. Virtual PC calls these "Undo disks" - and when you shut down the VM, you're asked whether you want to merge your changes into the baseline, store them separately, or discard them.

It's absolutely perfect for this kind of thing.

  • I really like Virtual PC, too, Dylan, so I gave you a +1 for the suggestion. However, our Network Administrator is set on the belief that VPC will not work on our network (even though I had it working fine on my last Windows XP machine before I was migrated to Win7). Since I need him to create my account on our network in VPC (and he is hard headed), I can't use it at work. Freakin' Admins. {scoffs}
    – jp2code
    Commented Sep 25, 2010 at 12:41
  • My apologies for getting back so late. I clicked to discard changes, and the next time I tried firing up Virtual PC, I found it had discarded EVERYTHING! I was back to an unformatted drive. :(
    – jp2code
    Commented Feb 7, 2011 at 19:07

Some sort of virtual machine technology. At my work we use VMware Workstation, which has very useful snapshotting.

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