EDIT: I have just realized that, in what is quite an unforgivable lapse, our site's dedicated FAQ entry from where all of it started was never even mentioned once here...
- What tools do you use to test Portability? (viewtopic.php?t=5805);
- Testing portability (viewtopic.php?t=2655);
- Test your applications in a sandbox (viewtopic.php?t=2046).
Still, some others, and me among them (I use Primo), test software via system profiling and by comparing before and after states.
Next up, the topic that provided me with the starting guidelines and tools for an impervious Windows testing environment.
- How to create a virtualized and bulletproof work-environment (viewtopic.php?t=5943)
- Installing a Fresh Windows OS to a New Bootable VHD... [my go to tutorial for VHD installation]
- How to Create a Windows 7 VHD at Boot to Start with from Boot [illustrated tutorial]
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/29 ... -boot.html
- Windows 7: Boot From VHD, Advanced Usages [for simple setup instructions of differencing VHDs]
- Booting Windows to a Differencing Virtual Hard Disk [in depth instructions from MSDN]
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/heaths/archive/ ... -disk.aspx
IMHO, once you get such a setup, both your (virtual) system and differencing disks will just be (large) files residing on your main hard drive, ready to be easily backed up and replaced whenever needed.
I'll try to add further info later. Feedback welcome.