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[Review] Wondershare Time Freeze

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Wondershare Time Freeze [1]

Version reviewed:

v2.0.0

Software description as per the developer:

A powerful virtual system tool to safeguard system from virus, spyware, trojans, etc.

Download size:

2.06 MB

Supported OS:

Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Win7 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Price:

$39.90 (USD) for single personal license and $79.00 (USD) for single commercial license. Volume/multi-user discounts are available.

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{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”9″}Extremely easy to use. The only major problem is when main system protection is turned on, a user may forget that the protection is turned on (because there is no visual notification – such as a floating widget or a popup warning before a reboot – that protection is on, asides for a small change in the system tray icon) and reboot the computer, only to find all the things they worked on for the past hours is lost.
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{for=”Performance” value=”7″}Performs very well except for two things: 1) It improperly detects the amount of physical RAM/memory I have on my computer 2) “Disable Changes” does not fully protect a folder – third party programs, such as Unlocker, can be used to delete or move folders protected with “Disable Changes”.
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{for=”Usefulness” value=”9″}I can see this being useful to many people.
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{for=”Price” value=”7″}The price is a mixed bag. $39 for a personal license is right-around the ballpark of other products such as Returnil and Deepfreeze, although I would say $29 would make this product more attractive to home users. $78 for a commercial license is a fairly high price, however it is an upfront cost: Wondershare Time Freeze has no reoccurring yearly charges. Thus, in the long run – depending on how many licenses you order and how long you use the program – Wondershare Time Freeze can come out to be cheaper than the likes of Returnil and Deepfreeze which do have an yearly reoccurring cost.
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{for=”Final Score” value=”7″}
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{rw_badb}Wondershare.com’s WOT profile [2] shows it as a company that uses spam tactics to advertise their products:

[3]

I don’t like spam; you don’t like spam; nobody likes spam. Spam is hated by everyone (I bet ever spammers don’t like being spammed) and the spam tactics of the developer should be factored into your decision to buy Wondershare Time Freeze, if you ever decide to purchase it. However, in regards to the Wondershare Time Freeze, spam plays no positive or negative role in its performance.

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{rw_verdict}[tup]
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Similar to the dotTech Favorite Returnil Virtual System [4], Wondershare Time Freeze is a security tool that provides users with two aspects of protection which no orthodox anti-virus/anti-malware tool provides:

If users want to keep changes they made to their computer after WTF’s protection is turned on, they can simply turn off protection and opt to merge all the files/folders/etc. present in the “buffer” area with the main system partition. Do take note, though, that if you do want to keep all changes made to computer, do not restart your computer while WTF main system partition protection is turned on – you will lose all changes. You need to actually manually turn off the protection and then select to merge changes.

*For those confused about what a “buffer” is, think about it like this. Image you bought a brand new dining table. To protect this brand new table, you put a table cloth over it (a “buffer”). This table cloth enables you to make full use of the dining table without having to worrying about getting it dirty, scratched, etc. because the table cloth takes all the hits for you; it serves as a buffer between the table and the food/utensils/kids/people/etc. Similarly, your computer is like the dining table while the “buffer” provided by WTF is like the dining cloth: The “buffer” provides protection to your computer, keeping it safe from haram, and making it easy to cleanup after you are done.

**The buffer is a limited area on your hard drive (or RAM/memory, if you activate that feature). However large it is exactly, I don’t know because Wondershare does not specify, but I assume the size of the buffer varies depending on your current hard drive space usage/capacity. The buffer can get full if you have WTF’s main partition protection activated for a long time and have not rebooted to get rid of all changes/merged changes. If the buffer gets full, you will be warned and told to either reboot to get rid of all changes or to merge all changes; according the Wondershare the warning occurs when the buffer is at 90%.

Do take note that this folder protection feature is different than the main system partition protection feature. With the main system partition protection feature changes are dumped after a computer reboot/restart. The folder protection feature, on the other hand, has no association with computer reboots/restarts; folder protection offers straight-up protection: You cannot modify any folders that are protected in any way shape form or fashion, so there is no need to dump changes after reboot.

The cool thing about WTF is the main system partition protection and folder protection features are completely separate – you can toggle one on and the other off, or you can toggle both on at the same time.

Two other “extra” protection features WTF offers are:

To assist with all the protection features above, WTF has some “convenience” features:

The following short demo video – created by Wondershare – walks you through all the features I just mentioned above:

Overally, Wondershare Time Freeze is a good program that provides good protection. However, there are three valid concerns which the developer needs to look into:

Thus, to prevent such an oh **** moment, I propose WTF prompt users with a popup message right before a reboot/restart/shutdown occurs saying something like “If you reboot/restart/shutdown your computer, all changes will be lost. Are you sure?” This way people that have forgotten that system protection is turned on can make the decision if all the changes they made to their computer since protection was turned on should be saved to allowed to go. To make it convenient on users that don’t want such a popup, Wondershare may consider adding this popup message as an option which users can toggle on/off.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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Returnil Virtual System 2010 Home Free [4]

As I already stated, Returnil Virtual System and Wondershare Time Freeze are very similar programs, although RVS has a few extra features such as anti-malware, and virtual disks.

Windows SteadyState [5]

Windows SteadyState is a free software (free for commercial or home use) for Windows XP and Vista (Win7 support not officially added yet as far as I know). While SteadyState takes the same approach as Wondershare Time Freeze (dumping all changes made to computer when rebooted), SteadyState is aimed at multi-user computers. SteadyState’s “system safe” feature corresponds to Windows user accounts, and SteadState has other options like disabling Windows features for non-administrator accounts.

Also, SteadyState integrates Windows Updates better than Wondershare Time Freeze.

Wondershare Time Freeze Free [6]

Wondershare Time Freeze Free is the free version of Wondershare Time Freeze.

Sandboxie [7]

Sandboxie aims to accomplish much of the same things asWondershare Time Freeze (i.e. protection), but it is a different beast altogether. You see with Sandboxie you get to “sandbox” programs so any files created/associated with those programs will not directly affect your computer if they are harmful. However, these sandboxed programs/files don’t get deleted upon system reboot – they are just kept isolated.

To put it in layman’s terms, Wondershare Time Freeze is more of a system-wide protection while Sandboxie is more of pinpoint, user defined protection. With Wondershare Time Freeze you start with full protection and must manually poke holes in your protection when necessary. With Sandboxie you start with no protection and must manually select how you want to be protected when necessary.

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{rw_verdict2}Wondershare Time Freeze is easy-to-use and provides users with a level of protection that no anti-virus/anti-malware program can match. Overall, it is a nice program – thumbs up! However, I stop short of recommending it because it is not 100% bug free, yet. Yes, the main problem area is not associated with Wondershare Time Freeze’s main system partition protection, but nonetheless it is a significant problem. Feel free to use Wondershare Time Freeze if you like, but until Wondershare makes WTF bug-free, my recommendation is the following: If you are the sole user of your computer, Returnil Virtual System is the way to go. The options and features of RVS make it far superior than SteadyState for a single user (you can grab Home Free if you are a home user and don’t want to pay for Home Lux). However if you share a computer with other people on a regular basis (i.e. you have multiple Windows user accounts), or you are looking to protect a publicly used computer, Windows SteadyState is better than RVS in that situation because SteadyState works with Windows users accounts and provides Windows’ feature disabling functions while RVS does not.
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