How can I try software without doing a full installation?

fran April 28, 2010

Often I install programs in Windows 7 to try for a while and then I uninstall them.

Is there any freeware for testing, so that it does not affect the system and does not leave remains after uninstall? Virtual box might be, or is it only useful to install another OS?

Much encouragement by this blog, is very good. Greetings everyone from Spain!

  1. Blue Heeler
    February 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Yes, you can make a Portable app out of any installation setup file. This is made possible by extracting the files inside installer. Any software setup or installer is nothing but an archive of files which is programmed to extract at specified locations already.

    Universal Extractor is a tool which can extract most of Setups locally inside a folder and you can start using any application without actually installing it.

  2. Anonymous
    July 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

    The safest, albeit somewhat lengthy process would be to install a guest OS using Virtual Box or something similar. Then, you are done trying and feel like it's worth an install, you could move to the host OS.
    If you are on Windows 7, the whole process is even easier. Try out this article

  3. Chris
    May 16, 2010 at 4:20 am

    The free Comodo Time Machine ( can roll back your PC to a previous state, ie before you installed the software.

    • Dazzlerbox
      September 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

      I had a real bad experience with Time Machine. It caused a BSOD ! I ended up reinstalling my OS

  4. Anonymous
    May 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Good info guys

  5. Christian Sabourin
    May 9, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Without doubt Returnil! The free option is more than capable of "freezing" the system until the next reboot so no trace at all can be found on the machine. Just be sure not to do any other work before rebooting since everything will return to the state it was.

  6. Sonny Bass
    May 8, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Just use Revo Uninstall and it won't leave any leftovers on your computer

  7. Jessica Cam W.
    April 29, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Portable apps are good, but there are also software virtualization programs that allow you to install software to a virtual layer or just make them stay isolated from the rest of the system. Such programs include Sandboxie (MUO article) and SVS from Symantec (here's for a good review).

    • Aibek
      April 29, 2010 at 11:38 am

      Fran, I think these two apps offer exactly what you're looking for.

  8. Jack Cola
    April 28, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Portable Apps are good, but they only have limited software. As you suggested, you could use Virtual box to install an operating system, and in that operating system test out your programs.

    However, some programs have a no-install version which can be extremely helpful in some situations.

  9. Anonymous
    April 28, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    You could try Sandboxie ( and install your apps in a virtualized space or an actual virtual machine like VM Ware.

    • Hozefa KB
      February 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Hey Fran,
      I use sandboxie too, its very simple to install and uninstall a program.
      all you have to do is right-click on the freeware program and select 'Run Sandboxed'.
      although the installation process says that a shortcut is placed on the desktop, you will have to keep a shortcut of the "Sandbox folder" on the desktop and the program shortcut will be in it.
      and if you want to remove the program, simply empty the contents from the sandbox control window.
      Have fun testing.

  10. Anonymous
    April 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Hello Fran,

    there are websites like where you can find a lot of portable software, meaning you don't need to install or uninstall the software, you can simply download, decompress (if necessary) and run it. I you like it you can keep using it and if not, just delete it.

    Also think that, depending on the software, it might left some residual data in the registry, but probably nothing you should worry about.


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