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How to use Sandboxie for browsing, downloading and installing programs

Sandboxie is a terrific program for the Windows operating system that safeguards the computer from harmful malware and stops it from manipulating system data. The program allows the user to perform browser, PDF, Word, Excel, or any other applications in a Sandbox environment.

Sandboxie safeguards the user’s computer from malicious software, rogue programs, Trojan, spyware, worms, and viruses, as well as any other hazard that can affect the system. As dangers are downloaded when you are online, Sandboxie functions as a barrier between your computer and the applications you are presently utilizing.

If you’re testing something you don’t quite trust, setting up a sandbox on your PC may be really useful. If you’re given a USB stick and want to examine it, or if you’ve downloaded anything questionable, opening it in a sandbox is the best approach to keep your PC safe.

A sandbox is a virtual area distinct from the rest of your computer where you may install, open, and utilize apps you don’t completely trust.

There are various solid solutions for sandbox software, including BufferZone, Sandboxie, and SHADE Sandbox, to name a few. We’ll teach you how to install software safely using Sandboxie, which is simple to use and free to download. If you’re concerned about security, you should definitely invest in a VPN. Take a look at our best VPN recommendations for 2018.

We’ve compiled a brief guide on installing apps and programs below, but it’s critical to read the more complete user guide over at Sandboxie.


Table of Contents

Here’s what we are going to cover today:


sandboxed program

The activities of the sandbox don’t influence Windows or your other programs/files in any way; what occurs in Sandboxie remains in Sandboxie.

Sandboxie has changed hands twice I guess, from the original creator to Invincea, who were in turn bought by Sophos (and there are reports that Sophos is up for sale as well) (and there are rumors that Sophos is up for sale as well). Recently Sophos stated that Sandboxie is now freeware, and are going to make it open source.

We are not going to address it here, rather we’re going to look at the fundamental use of the application. In other words, you will learn how to utilize Sandboxie for surfing safely, downloading files and retrieving them, and installing/running applications within the sandbox.

You don’t even need to acquaint yourself with the UI to utilize the application. In fact, I would suggest novices bypass the UI and utilize the tray icon.


How Sandboxie works

How Sandboxie works
How Sandboxie works

Sandboxing is a tactic for avoiding viruses from inflicting permanent damage to your system by denying them access to your real system by having the Sandbox masquerade as the legitimate operating system. Sandboxie differs from standard sandbox software in that it does not virtualize everything. It virtualizes only the resources requested by programs running within the sandbox, such as Files, Disk Devices, Registry Keys, Process and Thread objects, Driver objects, and objects used for Inter-process communication, such as Named Pipes and Mailbox Objects, Events, Mutexes, Semaphores, Sections, and LPC Ports.
Sandboxie-Plus is a derivative of Sandboxie intended to cure a multitude of faults and provide expanded functionalities. Likewise, look at it.

When the program is run, it establishes an isolated environment and prevents other apps from making permanent alterations to the computer.

Users may adapt Sandboxie according to their requirements and run several apps within a single Sandboxie application. Botnets, banking Trojans that are particularly harmful, and ransomware are considered as the biggest hazard to security-conscious computer users.


Browsing securely

Browsing securely
Browsing securely

You may run any software that you have installed in Windows within Sandboxie; this also works with portable apps and normal files (that open in other programs) (that open in other programs). Some apps may not function with Sandboxie if you attempt to install them straight within the sandbox.

If you have installed Sandboxie, you will see the icon on the desktop, start menu and system tray. You may use any of these to run Sandboxed versions of your apps. The most typically sandboxed software is the web browser. Right click on the system tray icon and choose Default box > Run Web Browser. Your default browser, regardless of whether it is Firefox, Chrome, Edge or another will open as it usually does.

You will see that it has a yellow border around the boundaries of the window (when you mouse over to the edge) (when you mouse over to the edge). You can also observe that the program’s window title is contained in two [#] [#] like this [#] Mozilla Firefox [#]. This means that the software is operating within Sandboxie. If you don’t see either the boundary or the hashes, it is not operating in sandboxed mode.

You may use the sandboxed browser as you would normally. You may write emails, check social networks, visit tech sites like ours, and do pretty much everything that you would do in the unsandboxed version.

One of the primary distinctions is that in case a virus infects the browser, it will be confined inside the sandbox. Say you visited a website with a malicious ad and it attempted to infect your PC. While it will execute, it cannot propagate to the underlying system due of the sandbox. The sandbox restricts the reach of tracking cookies and other unpleasant stuff as well.

You may utilize the “Default box > Remove contents” option to delete the whole sandbox and start again. It is advised to clean the sandbox once in a while to start with a new one.

Note: This is not the same as surfing anonymously, if you require that you should go with a VPN or use Tor.

You may also access links from any application (email, chat, etc) via a sandboxed browser, however you will need to experiment with the program’s settings to do this.

Downloading files and recovering them

Now let’s imagine you want to download an executable file or any other file under Sandboxie. It won’t be seen in your Downloads folder in Windows Explorer if you do so since the download is confined in the sandbox.

How to use Sandboxie for downloading and recovering content

You must recover the download by selecting Default box > Quick Recovery. If you choose to recover to the same folder, the file should appear in your downloads folder (and ready to use in an un-sandboxed environment). However, if you prefer, you can run the file inside the sandbox without first recovering it.

If you don’t see anything to recover, you can manually browse your sandbox and recover the content by selecting “Explore contents” (which opens File Explorer). This is common if you use a custom download folder rather than Windows’ default one.

For example, I save my downloads to an external drive, so they won’t appear in Sandboxie’s Quick Recover. In that case, the contents will be available in the C:SandboxAshwinDefaultBoxdrive folder.

Installing and Running programs in Sandboxie

What is the point of running a program inside Sandboxie? The main advantage is that you can run questionable programs and files within the sandbox to avoid any damage or problems. It is possible to run malicious programs inside the sandbox, but it is usually preferable to do so in a virtual environment.

Simply extract portable applications to a folder within the DefaultBox drive folder and run them. Open File Explorer and right-click any program’s installer to install it inside Sandboxie’s protected environment.

How to use Sandboxie installing programs 2

When you select the run sandboxed option, the installer should have a yellow border and hashes, just like the browser. This indicates that the program is being installed within Sandboxie. You must manually run the installed program from the Defaultbox folder.

How to use Sandboxie installing programs

Note: You can optionally grant the installer UAC rights if it is required.

Closing Words

Sandoboxie can be a very useful tool, especially for the following characteristics:

  • Secure Web browsing: Allows the user to browse the web in a sandbox environment, preventing the download of any potentially harmful software while online.
  • Provides a Protective Shield Against Email: Every day, we receive several emails, many of which are spam and only a few of which are useful. Some of these emails include an attachment that could contain a virus or other potentially harmful software. The Sandboxie application prevents these files from being downloaded and infecting the system.
  • Enhances Privacy: When we surf, all information such as web cookies and browser cache is stored on the computer, which hackers can easily access. When running in the Sandbox environment, these data are stored within the application itself, preventing cache files from being downloaded on the machine.
  • Wear and Tear Protection: Because Sandboxie runs the application inside a barrier, it prevents malicious software from being installed on the computer.

This approach will install applications in a separate sandboxed folder that corresponds to the actual place where it should have been installed if it had not been put in a sandbox.

Any modifications performed are self-contained inside the sandbox, so if the software does anything you don’t want it to, you may stop the process and destroy it without affecting your system.

As previously stated, there are compelling reasons to execute programs in a sandboxed environment. It may be used to secure your online surfing sessions and to test applications and other apps before installing them on your machine. It might also assist to prevent malware that is included with an application by installing it first in the sandbox. It runs on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit for this article; 64-bit is not supported.

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