Not all software apps are made portable. While most portable apps can be downloaded and used from Portableapps.com, if you want to create a portable version of a software that doesn’t have one otherwise available, you will need to use virtualization utilities like Cameyo and Evalaze. While we have already discussed using Cameyo, this article will show you how to use Evalaze to virtualize Windows applications and make them portable.
Benefits of Virtualizing Windows Applications
The obvious benefit of portable apps is the ability to take the portable apps anywhere using any means like a USB Flash drive or the Internet. There is no need to install apps everywhere. You just have to take the portable app folder which will also take all the settings and data along with it.
A lesser-known benefit of portable apps is that they can be great in preventing the system from getting viruses. Since most portable apps run in their own virtual containers, the corruption will most likely not affect the whole system.
How Virtualization Works
Evalaze scans the system before actually installing the application. It scans for changed and newly-created files including DLLs, executables, and registry changes. The same scan is run after the installation is complete. The data captured during the scan is saved in a single file with an .evd extension.
When you virtualize Windows applications, you can run different versions of the same software without any data conflicts. The virtualized applications run inside a sandbox. This will make the running applications more secure, and the data will not be written to the system. The data is either written in the virtualized application folder or completely disposed of.
Using Evalaze to Virtualize Windows Applications
Evalaze sports a very simple user interface. You can use a wizard to virtualize an application, or do it manually with all the options at your disposal. We will be using the wizard for this tutorial. You only need to follow simple steps to create a virtual app.
Evalaze wizard asks for the application name and capture path where all the settings will be stored. The default path is C:\capture. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8, you should not use the system drive for saving output files from Evalaze due to the restriction of the Operating System. The applications may not work well if they are placed on the system drive.
Press the Next button to start the pre-installation scanning. It may take some time to complete the scan depending upon the size of your system drive. The wizard will look for file system and registry changes and save the system state for comparison with the post-installation scanning state.
After the prescan process is completed, you will need to press the “Select setup” button to select the software setup you want to virtualize. In this step, the Evalaze app will work in the background while you install and configure the software. It is advisable to not run any other app while running Evalaze to avoid any conflicts.
When the installation is completed, configure the app so that all your desired settings are recorded in the virtualized app. After configuration, you will need to return to Evalaze and click on Next button to run the post scan.
The post scan process takes quite a lot of time to complete as it has to first scan the filesystem and registry like it did in prescan and then compare the two.
In the next step, you will need to select the executables which will be used to launch the virtualized application. There will be only be one primary application, but you can select multiple executables which can be run from the portable folder.
After you press the Next button, you will be given two choices:
- Use WriteCopy-Mode
- Use Merge-Mode
You have to select one mode of virtualization. In WriteCopy-Mode, the application will be fully virtualized and will not be able to interact with the host Operating System directly. Instead, the sandbox will be used to redirect the write operations to the host OS. In Merge-Mode the application will be able to read from and write to the host Operating System. The Merge-Mode should be used when the application needs to change system files and system registry values.
On the next screen, you will be able to change the name of the sandbox container. The sandbox container will have an extension of .evd and will contain all the files necessary for virtualization.
Finally, you will need to run the build process by pressing the Next button. The virtualized application will be available in the folder named “output” inside the folder which you gave in the first step.
I have been using Evalaze to virtualize Windows applications for a few days now. Some applications work perfectly in WriteCopy-Mode while others need to be set to Merge-Mode. You will need to experiment with different apps to make sure that the applications created with Evalaze are portable and can be run on any Windows system.
We would love to hear about your experience with Evalaze in virtualizing your regularly used apps. We would appreciate any comments in the designated section below.