Tips to test potentially unsafe software without hurting computer.

If you really want to test out or use a program that might be potentially unsafe, contain virus, or do something you didn’t expect, but you don’t want your computer to be hurt, what should you do? Here’s some tips to do it safely.

  • for both Windows and Linux you can make a Windows virtual machine with VMware and make a snapshot before testing those programs, if something is wrong with the program you can go back to the snapshot.
  • For linux users there’s even more options, we could test the program with a non-root user account, but still you might want to create a new user account to test it if your own user account has many datas because some programs might destroy datas that they can access.
  • For advanced users they can use other options like make virtual machine with user-mode kernel or mount with unionfs to test the program with a virtual root account.
  • For Windows users running programs with limited users might help, but most Windows programs won’t run properly under those accounts, for now the only solution that I can think of for this is VMware. You can also track what the program does by using Filemon to monitor file changes, Regmon to monitor registry changes, and Urlsnooper to monitor the url the program accessed, or any other utilities in addition of those mentioned above.

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