Screenshot Tour: free Comodo Time Machine lets you roll back your whole system
Comodo Time Machine isn't a "Time Machine" in the Apple sense of the word. Rather, it's a way to take a snapshot of your whole system in a certain state and then smoothly roll back to that state once you need it again.
The main difference between Comodo and Windows' own snapshot system (restore points) is that Comodo rolls everything back. That means that, by default, all your data is included. If you do not explicitly exclude it, you will lose data on the rollback. However, before the system rolls back Comodo takes another snapshot. That means you can undo even the rollback itself. I hope you're following so far; this whole rolling back and forth through time can get tricky.
Despite the "free" price tag, Time Machine is a serious piece of software. It goes so far as to install a bootloader, which lets you get into a "restore console" and roll Windows back even if it's so messed up that it won't boot. Since the software impacts the system on such a deep level, I wanted to test it out using a VM first. Unfortunately, that really didn't work out very well. VMware and Comodo got along badly, and the whole system froze up and became quite wonky.
My intrepid girlfriend volunteered her own system for the test, and we gave it a spin (thank you, Yaara!). On a "real" system, Comodo worked quite well. She was able to make snapshots, install software, and roll the system back without a hitch. After the fold, you can see a comprehensive tour of the interface.
The "Quick Operation" window, seen when you first load the program, presents a friendly, simple face. However, once you dig in, you find out that the program has quite a few options and impacts the system on a pretty deep level. This is not a toy.
This is what it looks like right before you take a snapshot of the system. According to the manual, locking a snapshot protects it from accidental deletion. The other parameters are pretty self-explanatory; each one gives a name and a comment.
This is the tree view of all existing snapshots. Obviously, when you have just one snapshot the tree appears quite simple. Note the "Delete all unlocked" button, which can be handy for quickly freeing up disk space if you routinely use the program.
This is the warning you get when you try to delete a snapshot. As I said, it's not so simple.
One important option is that you can restore a specific file from any snapshot. There doesn't seem to be a way to restore a whole folder (that would have been even handier), but you can search by filename and pull that one specific file out of any old snapshot.
This is the options dialog. There are three more tabs, which are not shown here, but this is the main one. The "Synchronize these files or folders ..." option lets you exclude certain files from snapshots so that they won't be affected by a rollback. There are also options for automatically purging old snapshots, defragging snapshots, etc. If you do use the software, be sure to dig around here.
You can take timed snapshots, too. Although, I imagine that taking a snapshot every hour would take its toll on the system in terms of disk space and even CPU use (taking the snapshot isn't a cheap operation).
This is a screenshot of the boot console that I took on my VM. You see this console before you see the Windows boot screen. Unfortunately, it did not actually work on my VM, so I have no idea what it looks like on the inside.
Even the uninstall routine seems well thought-out. Prior to removing the software, it gives you an option to restore your system to a previous snapshot, so you don't end up removing it and then going "doh!"
Bottom line: Comodo Time Machine seems like a solid option for protecting your system against accidental change. It's made by a reputable company, and you really can't beat the price tag.