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Containerizing Windows apps (on Desktop)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I've recently had to install a few applications that I use enough to need to keep them installed and usable but rarely enough that dealing with the way they add bloat is annoying. (I might only need to open some of them a handful of times a year but when I do it's not always something I can plan ahead and install them for)

It seems that every program these days comes with some background service that it expects to be running, a collection of background processes that are run from the regular windows start up mechanism, a task (or many tasks) in the scheduler, and probably a few other places I haven't found.

For many of these programs which I do not use on the day to day, I've tried to find ways to disable or stop these processes and services but I've failed at finding some of the mechanisms that start them, and even when I did catch them all, I sometimes encountered situations where now the application isn't willing to start because the service it relies on isn't running.

All this has lead me to the idea of an isolated/containerized/sandboxes app installation, where all the changes the app makes do not automatically get ported to the OS but when I do open the app, it works the way it's supposed to with all the services it expects running.

My problem it's that I haven't been able to find such a tool that would enable me to do that. The best I've found it to run the apps each in it's own virtual machine but for some apps, the performance penalty is too steep for some things and there are some things which are uncomfortable to use with visualization in a reduced screen size VM.
Is there any solution that can help me with this? Is there anything I missed?

So far I've seen that they is a version of docker for Windows but to my understanding it's server oriented.


Has anyone encountered anything like what I'm looking for? I'm sure I'm not the only one frustrated with this problem.


Thanks in advance

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