Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sandboxie: Core programs #3

Remember those boxes of crayons that were all shiny and the crayons themselves so neatly ordered by color rainbowlike? Back in the day, I think I coveted those. Unfortunately, I was not so neat myself and after some use, the crayons would turn ugly and unsightly, each smudged with pieces of its neighbors. Some people were more careful, mostly girls, and could keep them tidy even after prolonged use.
source: taken by Bryan Oliver
Something similar happens with computers. When you first get them running, they are all fast and zippy and the program menus and desktop uncluttered. But then, as you install programs and stuff, things begin to slow down, viruses to creep in and experience to go down. Sure, you could keep your computer in a pristine condition by not installing anything or connecting it to the net, but that's a no go. Could one, so to speak, have her cake and eat it too? Sandboxie could be your easiest solution.

Sandboxie is a program that places your web browser inside the virtual sandbox. The theory is that anything that happens inside the sandbox is stopped from making permanent changes to your computer, and still run as normal. What happens in the sandbox, stays in the sandbox. After each use, or every time she wishes to, the user can just wipe or delete the contents of the sandbox and start afresh. The capability of running the web browser inside the sandbox is not limited to that program only. Once installed, the user can run many , not all, programs within the sandbox. This lets her try new programs, and if she doesn't like them, remove them completely. No traces left behind.

The main focus of the program is security. If something harmful were to happen, the damage is contained inside the sandbox, so surfing is rendered safer. Theoretically, it is not 100% malware proof, but it is of great help nonetheless. Mixing sensitive sites, such as online banking, and regular surfing is still not recommended inside the same sandbox.

In my experience, some complex programs and others that require restarting the computer for installation cannot run correctly, so the user has to try another idea from her toolbox such as a virtual machine which I'll review next.

It is available for free at:

If you wish more about its security aspects there is a Security Now! podcast episode (#172) on:


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