I want to test some stuff without messing up my machine. Can you help me? ~ Ask The Admin

Monday, June 09, 2008

I want to test some stuff without messing up my machine. Can you help me?

Fellow MakeUseOf blogger, Mark O'Neil, put us onto a method of running an installer in a "Safe Space" using the Run As command (This uses "The protect my computer and data from unauthorized programs" activity check box).

This is a great method for running programs that might be a little suspicious. That little check box prevents the newly launched app from intermingling with protected system files.

I should remind you before continuing that you should only install software from reputable sources. And just a little FYI: BigFatPornSite32 or AllYourSchoolsTestAnswers is not a reputable source.

But if you just HAVE to install that iffy installer... If you got that itch and just can't shake it....

Then you got a bad case of the downloads... and when your Admin sense kicks into over-drive it's usually to late. So before you Install that Pron Video Bootleg Game legacy application lets think about loading it up in a Virtual Machine.

(Edit: As another good use for this -as seen in the image below you can run a VM with Vista in it on your XP machine - this can be a HUGE admin tool in trouble shooting when you don't run Vista or another OS.)

What's a Virtual Machine or VM you ask? Good question!

A VM is another computer or operating system running within your current machine. Did I loose you?

Ok let me try that again. So lets say you are running Windows XP and you have a few Windows 2000 Pro Licenses lying around, from some older defunct machines. You can run that Windows 2000 machine within your XP machine. That's right with a different virtual registry, hard drive and everything. Load up whatever junk you want and then you can easily revert back to your original image when you are done if you need to...

(When it Turns out BigBlondePorn32.exe wasn't exactly what you thought it was.)

And best of all Microsoft VM is totally free. All they ask is that you use a legal license for your VM (as it is another machine and all). But if you are like me grabbing a COA from the computer graveyard isn't a big deal. And look you made good use of something that was collecting dust!