This is related somewhat to my other post regarding portable software and traveling kits.
When I was still searching for (preferably free) software to make my apps portable as easy as possible, I stumbled upon a really awesome application virtualization piece of software called Altiris SVS. The personal version of SVS is free and can be downloaded here:
Just click on the right side button "Get SVS".You will need a personal license which you can get from here. Just click on the "Accept" button and you will download a zip file containing your license.
Like I previously said, Altiris SVS does virtualization at the application level, meaning it "contains" or traps each software in it's own virtual layer and allows it to run without interfering with any of the files outside the layer.
This means no more corrupted operating files, no more different versions of .net installed since you can bundle each program with it's own .net version and run it in a separate isolated layer, no more different versions of Java JRE, no need to have to uninstall an application because it got corrupted (you can just "reset" the virtual layer and it will return to it's original, fully functional state) and many other benefits.
It occurred to me a little earlier today that application virtualization can also be used to be able to run trial software for an indefinite period of time (legally I believe).
Once 30 days pass for instance, you can get reset the layer and start a new 30 day period all over again.
I'm not particularly interested in this at the moment, but I guess it could come in handy at some point.So far I virtualized all my apps and could't be happier, no problems so far.
If you plan to use SVS, do not skip on reading the manual.You will need to setup a sandbox in order to do a clean capture of the program you want to virtualize.You can use MokaFive, Virtualbox, VMWare etc...just do a search for desktop virtualization software and you will find something that fits your needs for sure.
You can also watch a product tour of SVS here if you want to find out more:
SVS Product Tour
Softwares similar in functionality to antiviruses, firewalls, print to pdf drivers, drive defragmentation ones etc will most likely not virtualize correctly.Read the manuals once again, can't stress this enough.
Also, software that has hardware-based licensing activation would be pointless to install into a virtual sandbox.If you know you have software of this type, do a fresh operating system re-install, install SVS and then capture the install process of the software in cause so that when you activate the software, it will generate a license that matches your real hardware.