Sandboxie is a neat little Windows shareware program that allows you to surf the internet in a virtual environment (or “sandbox”) on your PC. While nothing can be foolproof, some claim that it provides even more protection than regular virus/spyware programs — though you need to keep those running as well.
When browsing within the virtual sandbox you are totally corralled off from other parts of your PC. Anything downloaded from the internet is isolated to the sandbox. Similarly, any programs you choose to run within the sandbox (such as email programs) have no access to your files, your operating system or any other part of your PC.
Before exiting the browser or program, you simply delete the contents of the sandbox to destroy any viruses, spyware or keyloggers you may have picked up along the way.
How to Use Sandboxie
- Download the Sandboxie program, and install it on your computer.
- Open your browser in a sandbox by clicking on the new desktop icon (right). Alternatively, you can open your browser, email program or application first, then right-click on the “yellow kite” icon that now appears in your start-menu tray (lower left, near the Start button) Click “Run Sandboxed.” The browser or program will now display a hash mark [#] in the window title which lets you know that you are now operating safely within the sandbox.
- Save Desired Files: Remember, Sandboxie will not save anything downloaded during the session, so if you want to save a file, you can email it to yourself from inside the sandbox, OR right click on the Task Tray icon to “recover the file” before you close out your session. Learn how to Recover Files here.
- Delete the “sandbox” when finished: When you are finished using Sandboxie, and you have recovered the desired files and documents you downloaded, it is a good idea to delete the contents of the sandbox. Right-click the kite icon on the Tray icon menu (lower right), then mouseover “DefaultBox”, then click “Delete Contents.” Learn more.
- Please read the complete Getting Started guide on the Sandboxie website before using.
Important notes and warnings:
- Viruses and Malware: Ã‚Â Sandboxie can not protect you from malware that is already present on your computer, so it’s important to start with a clean computer: before using Sandboxie, use your updated virus and malware protection software to thoroughly clean your system
- Keyloggers:Ã‚Â If you happen to pick up a keylogger during a Sandboxie session, it WILL have access to your keystrokes until it’s been deleted. But you can protect yourself by deletingÃ‚Â the contents of the sandbox immediately before entering private data on a website (such as credit card or Social Security numbers.) Learn more about using Sandboxie to defend against keyloggers.
- Is Sandboxie right for you? This program is easy to install and use, but it’s best for those who are willing to read the Sandboxie tutorial first, so you know how it works. A confused user is an unsafe user. Important things to consider:
- Sandboxing creates a “two-worlds” view of your computer, and this could confuse some beginners. If you think you are surfing in the sandbox when you are not, then it’s possible to become infected.
- Files downloaded in Sandboxie are not permanently on your computer unless you deliberately move them from the sandbox to your real PC. While this is great protection against viruses, it also pertains to any files that you WANT to keep. If you shut the sandbox without moving desired files first, they will be lost forever.
- Like every other security software, some malware can still break out of sandboxes.
- Sandboxie is only available for PCs running Windows 2000 and later. Furthermore, sandboxing can slow down some PCs.
More Usage Tips from Sandboxie: