Say I open a .doc file from my UFD. I want to avoid leaving any traces in Windows (e.g. recent files, back-up files, swaps, etc) , or at least be able to delete all easily. So in this case, I want to isolate the MS Word and prevent it from having any contact with Windows, or gather all the traces in some virtual space so that I can delete all of it easily.

Is this possible? What is it called? Is there any Open Source software to achieve that?


You're going to have a hard time doing this - Windows is pretty well known for spraying information about what files you've accessed and the contents of those files all over the disk. For a start, even having it on your system might get it indexed, which means its contents are already copied over to the index database before you've even opened it.

One option for actually opening it is Sandboxie, but even that's not a solid solution if the OS is actively caching copies of it to the volume shadow copy and index databases.

My suggestion would be to set up a Windows VM inside a TrueCrypt container, save a snapshot of that VM, then load the sensitive documents in and read them. Once you're done, revert the snapshot back. If an attacker later compromises your system, they'll only see the encrypted TC volume. If they force you to decrypt it, there's a good chance that the snapshot revert has wiped all traces of the document and your access to it from the system.

  • Thanks. I'm going to search for how to create Windows VM. If you know good guides, please refer me to that. Another question: Is there any Open Source alternatives to Sandboxie? – Dana Jan 20 '14 at 13:10
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    VirtualBox is a free VM solution you can use. I don't know of any open-source alternatives to Sandboxie, but as I noted in my answer it's not a solid solution anyway. – Polynomial Jan 20 '14 at 13:22
  • What you have shared is very valuable. Wish I could have know it sooner. @Polynomial, thank you. – Dana Jan 20 '14 at 21:17

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