Spent too many hours removing unsolicited software?
Worried about clicking unfamiliar Web links?
My kids have the strictest rules when it comes to using my computer (what they do on their own, is another case). It seems every time they use it I have to clean out the computer, removing search bars, add-ons, and other annoying ‘ware’.
I do wish I had Sandboxie a long time ago…
Seriously, you cannot hide from the fact that even the most careful person will come across spyware and malware or worse. Even if you don’t visit “unsafe” websites or social networks – you can still get infected from something as innocent as an email from a friend.
This is where Sandboxie comes handy. What it does is isolating programs and processes from the rest of the system, making it impossible for any program (or process) to make permanent changes and even store data on the hard drive. This protection (or secure place) is referred to as a “box”.
You can create as many “boxes” as you like – or you can choose to run everything inside the “Default Box”.
You can always choose whether to run a program within the Sandboxie protection or outside it. Any changes made to the system when running within Sandboxie will be deleted.
Sandboxie resides in your Taskbar Tray awaiting your actions. Whenever you want to run a program in protected mode, you right-click the Sandboxie Icon and choose your way from there. The Context menu allows you to run your browser, email client, windows explorer or any program from any location inside the secure “box”.
Whenever a program stores information for later use, windows tells it to save this within your User Folder. Opera Browsing Histroy is stored in the following folder:
C:\user\current\AppData\Local\Opera\Opera. What Sandboxie does is to redirect everything to the safe storage folder. And thereby avoiding changes to your OS.
The good news about this, is that you can review these folders (and files) and synchronize them with the real system. Thus preventing wanted changes to be deleted. Right Click the Sandboxie Icon, Choose Default Box (where “Default Box” is the name of the box), and Explore Contents.
If you don’t review these folders, the content will be wiped clean by the program upon exit.
Making sure some programs cannot run without the sandboxie protection is especially useful on public computer (which every computer in my household are). Inside the Sandboxie Control Panel you can choose which programs should always be run inside a protected box and which not to.
You can tell Sandboxie to alert you if you try to run a forced program outside the Box or simply override quietly.
But wait, there’s more
Stopping changes from being made to your system isn’t all it does. In the Control Panel, you can also set application restrictions. You can let single applications override some of the sandboxie rules, apply restrictions to hardware access (like sending keystrokes), stop low-level access (Direct access to the Windows kernel), and prevent certain programs to ever reach the Internet – to mention but a few.
I recommend a tour inside the Sandboxie Settings Panel to learn about all the features.
Compared to a competitor
Earlier I wrote about TimeFreeze which is a similar system. Sandboxie has a few advantages over TimeFreeze as it is totally free (if you can stand the nag screen which appears after 30 days), and gives you more control as to which programs to protect.
TimeFreeze is better in the sense that you don’t have to remember to use it. But if you want to run a program outside the protected area, you have to shut it down temporarily – thus stopping all protection. In regards to settings and options, TimeFreeze has a more intuitive interface. But the level of control that I get with Sandboxie makes it My protection Software of choice.