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Software testing is an important part of an administrator’s daily routine. There are various tools and different approaches for making this task easier and more efficient. Some use virtual machines as test environments, and others prefer sandboxes for software testing. Time Freeze Free is kind of a hybrid. It combines aspects of both approaches, which makes it a perfect software testing tool.
Time Freeze expands the sandbox approach. Rather than launch the software you are testing in a sandbox, the tool turns your whole Windows installation into a sandbox. Every change that is made to your Windows installation is logged. As soon as you turn Time Freeze off, you have exactly the same system as before you started testing the software. So it works more like the snapshot feature of virtual environments such as Hyper-V. The difference is that you can only have one snapshot, but on the other hand you have better performance than in virtualized environments.
Although Time Freeze Free is freeware, you have to register it after a 30-day trial period if you want to continue using it. A commercial version is also available that offers a few additional features such as MBR protection, physical memory buffer mode, customizable folder protection mode, and USB stick protection. The major drawback of the free version is that it doesn't support 64-bit OS.
Once Time Freeze is downloaded, the installation is straightforward. You will see a window with three tabs when you launch the tool:
On the first tab, you can turn the system protection on or off and view the amount of buffer that is left for storing the changes on your Windows installation. On the second tab, you can protect folders from modifications by adding the folders to the list and turning the folder protection on. The last tab is for changing the application’s settings. As you can see in this screenshot, not many options are available:
All in all, Time Freeze Free is a very handy tool for software testing. The application is lightweight and easy to use. If you don’t have the hardware to do your software testing in virtualized environments, Time Freeze Free is a very good alternative.