Updated: February 12, 2016
Roughly four score and eight years ago, I mean a year and a half ago, I reviewed Cameyo, an application virtualization software that neatly packages Windows program installations into self-contained executables you can run on any machine. Sounds damn good, does it not. Indeed, I liked what Cameyo could do back then, as you may learn should you feel curious enough to follow the link.
Recently, I've been asked to test the new version, Cameyo V3. Which I did. As you will read in this review. Test platform, Windows 10 on my G50 laptop, after I've submitted it to a free upgrade from Windows 8. Not that I like it, but I'm doing all these things for you. I am doing everything for you, like Brian Adams. Only with operating systems rather than music. Follow me.
Cameyo V3, first attempt
Got the software off the official site. It's a 14MB file that just runs, no installation, no special setup. The main program comes with a very simple interface that is perhaps oversimplified. You have three choices. You can play, i.e. use existing packages, capture a new installation, or edit a package, the last which allows you to add and remove files, and tweak the registry of self-contained programs created with Cameyo.
Like before, you can register and login to use some of the online features, and editing packages takes a lot of expertise and knowledge. But for most people, the rather straightforward recording of new installs will be the most interesting option.
So I began with a new install capture. Cameyo starts by taking a snapshot of the system before the installation, and then takes another after you complete it, then compares the changes to try to understand what system modifications should be added into the package. I still think the better way is to actually trace the parent process for the installation and all its forks, and then record the changes accordingly, but that's not really important.
We saw this with the previous version, and indeed, it worked fine. However, V3 did not deliver the desired result. It delivered nothing at all. Seventeen minutes into the attempt to install a program, Cameyo was still busy taking the system snapshot. So I just canceled it. I decided to upgrade Windows 10 to the latest build first, and then try again.
Cameyo V3, second attempt
I tried again after the system update. Once again, the initial snapshot seems to be stuck, but I decided to let it be. No less than 43 minutes after starting the capture did Cameyo finally prompt me to begin the installation. That's absolutely impractical.
I tried to capture the installation of GIMP, a nice and friendly and decidedly cross-platform program, with a rather non-intrusive approach to how it installs itself. In fact, GIMP is available as a portable app, so this ought to be a no-brainer. The capture ought to be a delight. And it seemed to work.
After the installation, Cameyo V3 spent about ten minutes taking the post-installation snapshot before failing majestically. I do not know why and how, but the application just stopped worked. Perhaps it's a compatibility issue, maybe Cameyo is not designed for Windows 10, and Windows 10 is definitely not the dream operating system everyone believes it ought to be. It does not matter. Cameyo had failed, and I had enough.
There is no third time lucky, because I don't think I should spend more time fiddling with this product. I love the concept, I really like what Cameyo did in the past, but V3 is simply not meant to be. In general, the autumn slash winter season of software testing is turning out to be rather unsatisfying overall.
Two attempts, with a complete system upgrade in between, lots of patience and reading. Really, I can't think of anything more sensible than what I've done. But it just isn't meant to be. And so I must end the review on a very negative and frustrating note. Cameyo V3, no idea how well it works because it does not. You may try it, but I have nothing wise to say and share, except that I expect this problem to be resolved. Fast. Disappointed. Bye.