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Best way to test new software (trial versions)?

Over time, I've loaded lots of trial version software. Most of it I don't want to keep.

I'm setting up a new system with Win 7 Pro. Is there a recommended way of testing new software so that it doesn't kludge up my registry over time? A shell of some sort?

In the past I do what most people do, wipe my system clean and re-install a clean version of the OS. I suppose I could use restore points, but, it takes some time to do a proper evaluation and all I really want to do is get rid of specific elements.


Any ideas or recommendations for maintaining the new system as pristine as possible is appreciated.
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  1. Best answer
    I would suggest using a virtual machine for testing software. There's VMWare, which is really good (not free), but since you're going to install Windows 7 Pro, look into XP Mode. Here's a link: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx

    There's also VirtualBox: http://www.virtualbox.org/
  2. Actually, VMWare Player is free, and does almost everything that VMWare Workstation does. But the one thing that (I believe) it does not do that is important in this case is to take snapshots. I'm not sure whether XP Mode has this facility, but VirtualBox certainly does.
  3. good ideas. I've already done an express install on Win 7. I bought PRO specifically for the XP mode capability and virtualization. Guess I'll have to do some more reading so I have a clue on how to make all this work. I started reading the guide for Win 7 and it appears there are a ton of good links/articles I need to go through...

    thanks again.
  4. Excellent recommendations - Virtual Machines are exactly how I test software that I haven't made up my mind about. If you keep a "template" copy of the VHD file then it's a trivial matter to "reset" the machine back to it's original state just by copying the template.
  5. Best answer selected by 23mike.
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