An Introduction and a Quick Guide to Sandboxie

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Introduction

We are all aware of the dangers of malware infection from the Internet these days. The danger has always been there, but this has increased a lot more because people with malicious intents are constantly devising new methods to infect the systems, and the inexperienced, naive, general-users/elderly/teens are the most affected by it. Malware infection from the Internet can occur in many ways, a few of which are:

  • Downloading a malware infected setup/file from a malicious site
  • Venturing to a malicious site
  • Clicking on a bad link in an email, or on a page, or on a bad advertisement
  • Clicking on links that fool you into believing that there is a malware on the system and prompt you to install rogue software etc.

Although there are many ways of getting infected by malware it does not mean that we need to become paranoid, or live in constant fear of the possible consequences. With a little effort, precaution, and by using common sense we can easily avoid getting systems infected with malware. Different safe practices have already been covered in various articles on this site, and can be read to learn how you can stay safe by following a few guidelines. We will all agree that precaution is always the best option.

In this article, we are going to learn about an excellent software called Sandboxie, which will keep you safe while surfing on the Internet.


Table of Contents:

  1. Purpose of the article
  2. What is Sandboxie?
  3. Benefits of Sandboxie
  4. Uses of Sandboxie
  5. Installation
  6. Usage
  7. Setting Up Sandboxie
  8. Conclusion
  9. Related Links
Purpose of the article

The purpose of this article is to make people, especially the general users, aware of this wonderful software Sandboxie. To general users, Sandboxie appears a difficult software to use, or even understand what it's about, and its settings may also seem a bit intimidating. This article is an attempt to explain about Sandboxie in a very simple way, and to help get it up and running with only the minimum and necessary changes to its settings. Just a little bit of patience is required to read through this article, but I am sure it will increase your knowledge of how to use Sandboxie.

Sandboxie has many settings and, if so desired, with the help of those settings an experienced user can further enhance and tighten security. But for general users, these changes are not required. Hence, this article will not cover the settings in depth, but only a few necessary ones. Detailed help for Sandboxie is available on its own site and is very well written.

What is Sandboxie?

Sandboxie is a unique security product based on the principle of sandboxing. In simple computer terms, a sandbox is an isolated environment for running programs. The environment will be exactly like the real system, the only difference being it's isolated from the real system. This technique is also being used in other programs, such as Google Chrome, and some of the antivirus software. Inside Sandboxie, the programs will run normally, like they do outside the sandbox, but whatever changes are made, stay inside the sandbox, and the actual system remains unaffected by those changes.

Let's say you are running a web browser in Sandboxie. Everything will be done in the normal way, you can click on links, visit sites, and download files etc, but, it will all take place in an isolated environment. Therefore, even if you go to a malicious site, or click on a malicious link, or even download a malicious file, the actual system will not be affected.

Now suppose while surfing inside Sandboxie, you click on a malicious link, and start seeing signs of malware infection, and/or the antivirus alerts you about it, all you have to do is, delete the contents of Sandboxie. That's it. The malware will be gone, and the system will remain safe, since the malware was not able to come out of Sandboxie. Nothing can come out of the sandbox environment until you allow it.

Note: This article is about Sandboxie's free version. The free version misses a few features - ability to force programs/folders to open in Sandboxie, and running programs in more than one sandbox at the same time. While these features are great, but they are not necessary, and the free version of Sandboxie is quite enough for general and home usage.

After 30 days of usage, the free version of Sandboxie also shows a pop-up window as a reminder to upgrade to the commercial version, with a 5-second delay when it starts. But, this is just a small inconvenience which can be overlooked, considering the excellent security and safety that Sandboxie provides. Use it for a few days, and you will agree with this.

Benefits of Sandboxie

Sandboxie makes surfing the web really secure and safe: you can always be relaxed and be sure that no malware can infect your system. Also, while surfing, various temporary files, cookies, cache, etc, are created and downloaded to the computer. All the aforementioned remain inside Sandboxie and can be easily cleaned by deleting the Sandboxie contents, and without worrying about where to look for them on your computer. Just one click to delete the Sandboxie contents, and it's all gone.

The biggest benefit is the peace of mind, and assured security, which is offered by the excellent protection of Sandboxie. Even if you come across a malware inside Sandboxie, there is no need to panic, because you can be assured that the malware won't be able to escape to the real system. Deleting the contents of Sandboxie is all that is required to get rid of any malware encountered.

Uses of Sandboxie

The main use of Sandboxie is for surfing the web where it keeps the browser isolated, and the system remains safe from various malware infections.

But, since Sandboxie offers an isolated environment, it can be used to test software too. The software will run in Sandboxie, and the changes made during the installation, or its running, will not affect the system. If you do not like the software, or if it's malicious, all you have to do is delete the contents of Sandboxie. No changes will be made to the actual system at all. If the software is safe to use, then you can install the software actually on the system, by installing it out of Sandboxie.

Installing software in Sandboxie also helps in knowing what  files and folders the software installs on the system. The files and folders will be created in Sandboxie, and can be seen, and explored, from within Sandboxie itself. As a check, if you look for these specific files and folders on your operating system, you won't be able to locate them because they are simply not there. They are inside the Sandboxie's isolated space, which shows that the changes made inside Sandboxie do not affect the actual system.

Installation

Installation of Sandboxie is pretty simple and straightforward. Just run the setup, and follow the instructions. After installation of Sandboxie it will generally show a window titled Software Compatibility, where it shows a list of software for which Sandboxie has made adjustments for compatibility. It is just for information. Finally, it will show a very short interactive tutorial on how to use Sandboxie.

On completion of installation, Sandboxie will also place a shortcut named Sandboxed Web Browser on the desktop, which when clicked, will run the default web browser of the system, inside Sandboxie. However, if you use a different browser for your normal everyday work, then a shortcut for it can also be created very easily, which we will learn about in the next section.

Usage

When Sandboxie is installed and runs, it will show a window titled Sandboxie Control, as shown in the image below. This is the main Sandboxie window. With no programs running inside Sandboxie, it will simply show a yellow wedge shaped icon named Sandbox Defaultbox in the window.

Sandboxie Control window with no running programs

The same yellow wedge shaped icon will be in the system tray too.

Sandboxie tray icon with no running programs

When a program is running inside Sandboxie, the main window will show the list of programs/processes running currently inside Sandboxie, and the icon will change to yellow with red dots.

Sandboxie Control windows with running programs

The Sandboxie icon in system tray will also change to yellow with red dots.

Sandboxie tray icon with red dots

That's how you know that something is running in Sandboxie.

Now to find if a program is running in Sandboxie or not. Let's say you are running a web browser in Sandboxie (our prime example for this article). If you take the mouse cursor towards the top of the web browser (i.e. the title bar), you will see a yellow border appear around the edges, as shown in the image below. You will also see a [#] sign on either side of the name of the program in the title bar on the top, and/or in the taskbar.

Sandboxed Firefox

These are ways to know, and confirm that the web browser is running in Sandboxie because otherwise it will simply feel that the web browser is running normally: you won't notice the difference at all, that's how convenient and non-intrusive Sandboxie is.

The yellow Sandboxie control icon in the system tray can be used to perform several operations, which can also be performed from the main Sandboxie window. Right-clicking the Sandboxie tray icon shows the different operations that can be performed.

Sandboxie tray icon right-click options

As can be seen from the image, you can run the default web browser, email client, or any other program you want, sandboxed. You can terminate programs, delete the contents of Sandboxie, or access the Quick Recovery (explained later) folders.

The main Sandboxie window can be easily accessed by either double-clicking the Sandboxie tray icon, or by right-clicking on it, and selecting Show Window.

By default the main Sandboxie window is in Programs mode, which means it will show the list of programs/processes running inside Sandboxie. To view the files and folders created inside Sandboxie, you can switch the mode by clicking View --> Files and Folders, from the menu.

Terminating programs

Individual programs running inside Sandboxie can be closed normally. But they can also be closed all at once, by just a few clicks:

  • Right-click on Sandboxie tray icon (see image above), and click on Terminate Programs.
  • It will show a warning that this action won't save the state, or data of those programs.
  • Click Yes, if you are sure, and all the programs inside Sandboxie will be terminated.

This is especially helpful if you encounter a malware while running programs inside Sandboxie. In such situations, also remember to delete the Sandboxie contents, after terminating the programs, which will get rid of any malware inside. Alternatively, just deleting the contents of Sandboxie (explained next) will also terminate the programs, and immediately empty Sandboxie.

Programs can also be terminated from the main Sandboxie window by clicking from the menu:

Sandbox --> DefaultBox --> Terminate Programs.


Deleting Sanboxie contents

To delete Sandboxie contents:

  • Right-click on the Sandboxie icon in the system tray (see image above), and hover cursor over DefaultBox.
  • Click on Delete Contents.
  • The Delete Contents window will pop up, and it will show the files to be recovered (explained later), if any, from Sandboxie, with a summary of numbers of files and folders inside Sandboxie, and the total size.
  • Click on the Delete Contents button to delete the Sandboxie contents. Any programs running inside Sandboxie will be terminated immediately, and the contents of Sandboxie will be deleted too.

The same can also be achieved from the main Sandboxie window, by clicking from the menu:

Sandbox --> DefaultBox --> Delete Contents.

Remember to delete the contents of Sandboxie on a regular basis, because the files and folders created inside Sandboxie can keep on accumulating, taking up hard disk space.

Sandboxie contents can also be set to delete automatically via settings (explained here).


Running programs in Sandboxie

Running programs in Sandboxie is very easy, and can be done in several ways:

  • The simplest method is to right-click on any program icon/shortcut that you want to run, and choose Run Sandboxed from the context menu - that's how simple it is.
  • Another method, discussed a bit earlier, is right-clicking the Sandboxie control icon in the system tray, clicking DefaultBox, and then choosing the appropriate option to run the desired program.
  • Yet another, albeit long method, is to open the main Sandboxie window, and from the menu, click on Sandbox --> DefaultBox --> Run Sandboxed, and then choose an appropriate option.

Creating shortcuts for sandboxed programs

Creating a shortcut for a sandboxed program is also pretty easy. Just follow these steps:

  • In the main Sandboxie window, from the menu, click Configure.
  • Click on Windows Shell Integration.
  • Windows Shell Integration window will pop up showing different Sandboxie settings, in different blocks (see image below).
  • Under the block titled Shortcut Icons, click the Add Shortcut Icons button
  • A window will show up briefly explaining what this action does, and how to create shortcut. Click OK.
  • Another window named Run Sandboxed will pop up showing DefaultBox, in the box underneath - simply click OK.
  • A menu list will be shown somewhat similar to the start menu list, from where you can choose the program for which you want to create the shortcut.

Windows Shell Integration

That's it, the shortcut for the sandboxed program will be created on the desktop. Whenever you double-click that shortcut, the corresponding program will automatically run in Sandboxie.

Setting Up Sandboxie

We will cover a few important settings for Sandboxie in this final section.

As mentioned earlier, Windows Shell Integration window shows some of the Sandboxie settings (see image above). By default, all the settings here are enabled, and it's better to let them remain as they are. Still, if you feel the need, you can change the settings. Like, under the "Shortcut Icons" block, the checkboxes can be unchecked, in case you do not want a desktop shortcut for the sandboxed default web browser, or its quick launch icon.

Let's move on to other settings of Sandboxie. These settings can be accessed from the menu of the main Sandboxie control window by clicking:

Sandbox --> DefaultBox --> Sandbox Settings.

There are many settings here, but we will cover only the necessary ones. The rest can be configured by reading the Sandboxie help on its website, or by going through them yourself. Most of them are for advanced use, and so we do not need to change all of them.

Sandboxie SettingsSettings

A small tip: To avoid clicking Apply repeatedly, to apply the settings before moving to another page, the checkbox named, Apply changes when switching to another page can be checked. It is located at the bottom of the Settings window, on the left (as shown in the image above). This will automatically save the changed settings on the current page, when you move to the next page of settings.

The first section of settings that we will cover can be seen under Recovery. Let's first try and understand what exactly recovery is.

As mentioned earlier in the article, nothing can come out of Sandboxie, until you allow it. For instance, you downloaded a file from the Internet while surfing with a web browser inside Sandboxie, and you would like to save it on the computer. The downloaded file is presently inside the sandbox, and since the changes inside Sandboxie do not reflect on the system, to actually save it on the computer, you need to take that file out of Sandboxie. This process of taking the file out of Sandboxie is called recovery.

A little hint of caution here: Since nothing can come out of Sandboxie, unless you allow it to, you should be careful while performing a recovery, and make sure that the file being recovered is not malicious. Sandboxie offers protection from malware by providing an isolated space for programs to run in, but to take something out of Sandboxie is a decision that rests solely in the hands of the user - so please be careful.

Now on to the Recovery settings. There are two types of recovery, as explained below:

1. Quick Recovery

On selecting Quick Recovery, a list of pre-selected folders can be seen in the box (please refer to Settings image above). These folders are selected by Sandboxie as the most common folders where files are generally saved by users. If you save files to these folders ... great! If you save to any other folder on the system, then that folder can be added to the list by clicking on the Add Folder button, browsing to the desired folder, and selecting it. As can be seen, in the Settings image, I have added D:\Downloads folder to the list, since I normally download files there. Folders can be removed from the list by selecting a folder, and clicking the Remove button.

So, whenever you need to recover files from Quick Recovery folders, you have to invoke it, as described below:

  • Right-click the Sandboxie control icon in the system tray.
  • Click on DefaultBox --> Quick Recovery.
  • The Quick Recovery window will show the list of files to be recovered (see image below).
  • Select the files.
  • To save them in the same corresponding folder on the system, click on the Recover to Same Folder button.
  • If you want the files to be saved in any other folder - apart from the corresponding folder - click on the Recover to Any Folder button, and browse and select the desired folder.

Quick Recovery

Quick Recovery will also be invoked when you try to delete the contents of Sandboxie. It's a way of reminding you to recover your files before the Sandboxie contents are deleted, after which the files cannot be recovered.


2. Immediate Recovery

Immediate Recovery is an extension of Quick Recovery. While Quick Recovery has to be initiated explicitly, or will be invoked when you try to delete Sandboxie contents, Immediate Recovery is invoked as soon as a file gets downloaded, or is saved by any program inside Sandboxie, in the pre-selected folders of Quick Recovery.

So, as soon as a file is saved in those pre-selected folders, the Immediate Recovery window will pop up (please refer to image below), with the first box showing the list of files, and the second box providing options, to save to the corresponding folder on the system, or to recover to any other folder. The files and appropriate option can be selected, and pressing the Recover button will take the files out of Sandboxie and actually save it on the computer. Quite simple, isn't it?

Immediate Recovery


Sandboxie contents can be set to delete automatically. This can be done by enabling a setting found under the Delete section of settings, from:

Delete --> Delete Invocation

Here, the checkbox for Automatically delete contents of sandbox can be checked, to enable the setting. As explained on the settings page itself, enabling this setting will delete the contents of Sandboxie automatically when the last program that is running inside Sandboxie is closed. Please take note of the above statement, in case you want to enable this option. Do not use this setting, in case you want to monitor the files and folders inside Sandboxie, even after closing all programs. This setting however, will not delete the contents of Quick Recovery folders automatically, and Quick Recovery will be invoked, in case there are any files there for recovery, when Sandboxie is about to delete the contents.

Another checkbox can be seen under this section for Never remove this sandbox or delete its contents, which when enabled, will protect deletion of Sandboxie contents, but this setting will not be needed under normal cicumstances.


Next, we will change a few settings for the web browsers. As already explained, the changes made inside Sandboxie are not reflected in the system; therefore, we have to make some changes for the web browsers so that when we save bookmarks, or passwords, they are reflected back and actually saved, and not lost after we delete Sandboxie contents. So, we have to allow direct access to these from Sandboxie. Although this compromises security a bit, still, it's a low risk compromise for a bit of convenience.

You can always choose not to allow direct access, but you will then have to remember to make the desired changes out of Sandboxie. Always remember, changes made inside Sandboxie will be lost when Sandboxie contents are deleted. So, if you want to make changes to a program, perform those changes out of Sandboxie. For example, if you want to install add-ons for Firefox, or, change its settings, you should do it outside Sandboxie.

Sandboxie provides settings for various popular browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Maxthon, Seamonkey, Waterfox, and Pale Moon, although not all settings are available for all browsers. These settings can be accessed from the Applications section of the settings by clicking on Applications --> Web Browser, and then clicking on the appropriate browser name to change its settings (please refer to the Settings image).

The way to change the settings is the same for all browsers; therefore, we just need to understand them for one browser.

Let's take Firefox. There are several settings for Firefox: you will see a plus sign inside a pair of square brackets, [+], next to Allow direct access to Firefox/Waterfox/Pale Moon phishing database, which means that this setting has already been enabled by Sandboxie.

We want to allow direct access to bookmarks and to passwords, so select and double-click the appropriate setting. Alternatively, selecting the setting with a mouse click, and clicking the Add button will have the same effect of enabling the setting. So, to allow direct access to the Firefox passwords, select Allow direct access to Firefox passwords, and double-click it. This will put a plus sign against it, inside the square brackets, indicating that it has been enabled. The procedure is the same for any other setting, for any other browser, which you want to enable, or disable.

Conclusion

I hope this article helps you to get to know Sandboxie, and understand about it, and helps you in setting it up easily, and using it.

If there are any suggestions or feedback about this article, please feel free to share them.

If there are any questions, or you want to learn more about Sandboxie, please post in the freeware forum, where other Sandboxie users will help and guide you. There are many knowledgeable members on the site and forum, who use Sandboxie and are more than willing to help you.

Just a little note: Sandboxie is not a replacement for security software, like antivirus, or anti-malware programs. Therefore, it is advised to keep the system updated and patched, and also install a good antivirus, and keep it updated. While Sandboxie will keep you safe while browsing inside it, but it's still advisable to follow good and safe surfing practices, and make it a part of your habit.

Enjoy your safe and secure browsing experience with Sandboxie. Be safe. Happy Sandboxing!

Related Links

Detailed help for Sandboxie is available on its website, here:

http://www.sandboxie.com/index.php?HelpTopics

The site has a number of resources to learn all about Sandboxie in detail, listed on the above page.

Sandboxie has been chosen as the top pick for the Best Free Browser Protection Utility review, here:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-browser-protection-utility.htm

There are other security based articles on the site that provide guidelines on how to keep your system safe and secure. You will often find Sandboxie mentioned in them.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/safe-computing-under-hour.htm
http://www.techsupportalert.com/how-to-secure-your-pc.php
http://www.techsupportalert.com/safe-surfing.php
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-security-diet-plan.htm

For more advanced reading, security related articles can be found here:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/sec

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Comments

This is to clear up my comment because a name of my 'commercial' backup program and mentioning the names of my other security programs got deleted and it sort of makes my whole comment sound a bit retarded. My backup program has a feature that resembles Sandboxie, it's sort of a 'try and decide' thing where you can install stuff and if you like it you keep it and if not, turn the feature off and it disappears.
And as for this Sandboxie thing, if you always use it while online, why would you have use for any other security? I did read the caution that you still need your anti-virus, etc. but if you always, 100% of the time you are online are running on this 'virtual' machine (OK,sort of), why would you need anything else? Since you are operating out of a computer that disappears when you're done, why would you still need protection? It'd take some planning and work, I know, but being able to get away from other security software seems like the whole point of using something like Sandboxie. Otherwise, why use it? I'm a careful browser and have never gotten attacked by anything that my anti-virus, firewall, etc. didn't take care of, but why even use it if everything is just temporary? Any answers to the above questions will be appreciated & thanks in advance. Any downloads or bookmarks, notes or other stuff you could have sent to a memory stick or an external drive that you unplug before closing the browser, so it'd be out of Sandboxies reach, right? Probably not, but I can't figure out why.

Hi Jaxon, sorry for the edit. This being a freeware site, we allow discussion/mention of only freeware, and edit out commercial stuff, otherwise it just attracts more commercial related stuff and spam. I hope you understand. As for what you say about needing any other security software... those are still needed, because although Sandboxie provides an isolated environment, still, it does not scan the stuff for malware activity, etc, nor does it stop a program from sending out information to the internet, even when running under Sandboxie. Therefore, it's not a replacement for security software like antivirus, or firewall. Sandboxie just provides an isolated environment so that any malware detected cannot escape out to the system. An antivirus is still needed to make sure that the downloaded files, etc are not malicious. Because, if you need to take the files out of Sandboxie, you need to be sure it's not malicious. An antivirus, or an antispyware takes care of that. Atleast general, inexperienced users will still need security software. But yes, if you are experienced enough, and have enough confident on Sandboxie, then you can do without these security software. Some of our site members who are experienced enough are doing that. But still, they do follow safe practices, and also take enough precaution to scan the downloaded files with an on-demand antivirus/antispyware. So, you still have to be careful. About the pen drive/external drive... yes, if you unplug them before closing browser, or emptying Sandboxie, the stuff will remain saved inside it.

Thanks so very much for the informative and inclusive reply. I've been hanging around Gizmos since I discovered the internet and since I live in a rain forest that just recently got other than dial up service it is still a lot newer to me than most. But I catch on quick and at least half of my software comes from recommendations from this site. I sort of figured out why the names that got 'edited' got the circular file but the Panda reference sort of unbalanced me cause I didn't know it was free. About the only thing you didn't clear up completely though is any difference between Sandboxie and the 'try and decide' feature on one of the biggest names in backup software. The few times I've used it, if I'm remembering correctly, it sounds a lot like the Sandbox, with maybe a couple of extra features and the only reason I don't use it more is because I have to open the program, go to that particular tool and wait a few seconds while it checks all my drives involved, because only my OS runs on my small SSD and everything else goes off to several other drives, both internal and external. I do very little random browsing so most of it involves sites I know well and trust completely to a point where my paid security stuff doesn't have much to do. Or at least I don't think it does, it's set on a sort of autopilot setting where I let it make all the decisions, because I've used it for years and it's got a sterling reputation and has never failed me. But it ain't cheap either and as of late I've been debating ways to not use such high end and totally inclusive software, that although my laptop runs with a QX9300 quad core with more RAM than my old OS can even use I'm trying to modernize without giving up the major stuff I'm comfortable with. I tend to start rambling and I'm doing it now so, thanks very much and I'll save my other list of questions for a later date. And since this is maybe the second time I've commented here in the 5 or 6 years I've been hanging around I'll take note of your suggestions and the rules about naming names. Thanks again and Pura vida, as we say round here.

Jaxon, I haven't used that software which you are talking about, so I can't say what are the differences between it and Sandboxie. All of the software I use are free ones, so I don't need to go for a commercial software, and therefore, I don't have any idea. But, it sounds like a virtualization based software too, like Sandboxie, so if it works for you, then it's good, and you can keep using it. There are other software like Sandboxie, which work on the principle of virtualization and sandbox, like VirtualBox, ToolWiz Time Freeze, Bufferzone, etc. Sandboxie is lightweight, easy to setup, and easy to use, and that's why many people like Sandboxie. You can read the article, try Sandboxie, and see for yourself how it compares to the other software. Then, you can use the one which you like, and which is easy to use. With Sandboxie, you will not have to wait the extra time that you told about. About antivirus, there are many free excellent antivirus present, and if you are looking for a change, you can try them out. I have been using free antivirus for years now, and haven't been infected, like many others on this site. For longer discussion, please start a thread in the forum (link has been provided by MC in reply to your comment below), and we will have the discussion there. Glad you commented, and it would be good to have more discussion with you. Pura Vida :)

I've been using Panda Safe. Sounds about the same. Panda Safe puts you in a virtual box and when you exit everything disappears. Thus no malware. Well to a point. Neither are bullet proof, but for most of us should be more then adequate.

Thanks for the comment. I was not aware of Panda Safe Browser. Did some reading, and I think to use it, you should have VirtualBox installed on the computer, which is a bit "heavy" software. Whereas Sandboxie is quite lightweight. Anyways, there are alternatives, yes, and its on the user with which he feels more comfortable.

I know you, the comment writer can't answer this but I'm curious why your mention of a Panda product got through while my mention of a couple of programs got 'edited' to take the names out. Maybe someone up in the Gizmo office might help me clear the incident up. Not trying to make a fuss, it's just that I don't usually comment here and am trying to figure out the rules. Thanks to anyone that may help me out here.....

As Anupam states below the main reason for these edits is to deter spam which is currently running in excess of 50,000 attempts (yes that's fifty thousand) a day. Most of this is dealt with automatically but still leaves a significant amount for our volunteers to handle manually. The type of commercial software mentioned in your original post is also one of the most spammed categories here. Thank you for your understanding. MC - Site Manager.

Without going off on my long winded style, thanks to you too, Cowboy and if you just go up a few comments to my reply to Anupam, consider it as addressed to you too. I may start spending a bit more time reading the articles and comments here, up till now Gizmo's just been a software grab bag (and a good one)for me. Since I'm only about half smart when it comes to the details maybe I can learn something useful if I hang around enough. Ahh, I see the 'Site Manager' note as I write this, so I'll slip an unrelated (well...everything's 'related' when we're talking computers, no?) question. Is there any section, forum, blog or whatever around here where I can ask questions...like for instance, how would I go about 'secure erasing' my first, and getting a bit old but still very much alive, SLC SSD that sits in a drawer only because I've updated to a newer and much much cheaper MLC SSD (from the same company, begins with an 'S'), but despite it's quality I've used it so much, and mistreated it almost as much, that it needs the erase and I've yet to find something that works. Everything I've tried (all variations of the same thing), I haven't been able to get to work. But I'm ranting on again, so if you're not angry yet maybe you could just point me in the right direction. Thanks and Pura vida to you too. Jaxon

We do indeed have a forum where you can interact with our editors and other members in addition to requesting support on a wide range of topics. MC - Site Manager. http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/
Panda Safe is a free product, and therefore, it can be mentioned here. Our site is a freeware based site, and therefore, we discuss only freeware. We remove any mentions of commercial software, because it attracts more commercial software based comments, and also more commercial spam, which we do not want. Hope this clears the issue :).

Thanks again and yes, it clears the 'issue' up completely and is totally understood. When I first started buying my own computers, which is only 7 years ago, I didn't know squat and only went with the best software I could find after intensive research in each category and when I discovered Gizmos I filled in a lot of empty spaces with the, thus far, wonderful stuff you offer. I'm talking screen capture, uninstall software, and various other hardware monitoring and tweaking programs. I'm not sure if I found 18kFanGUI here or not (I'm a Dell fan), but that might be the only software other than my security and backup and image and photo stuff that I didn't get here. I'm not trying to be a kiss up but you really do have a wonderful service and I'm going to start treating it other than just a catalog when I want a program. Evernote is the last 'find' I picked up from you and gee, it's incredible they just give you stuff like that. Am I allowed to mention software that I picked up as a free version here but ended up going on to upgrade to the paid version? Because Object Dock, free version was so great that I discovered that the paid version is twice as nice and if I blab names like that do I face the editing squad again? Again, I'm not being snarky, I'm just learning the rules, ya know? That last question about the dock software I ask because my first computer came with Panda on it but it was a 'trial' deal that you had to pay for if you wanted to keep it. And I found it not top notch as far as security suite type programs go. Being paranoid has been a good thing for me as far as online security goes and though I'd love to stop paying for it, I'm just too chicken about keeping my machine squeaky clean, and I do prefer one tool that does it all to avoid the conflicts and the work involved getting a firewall to get along with the antivirus to get along with the malware, etc. I'm willing to pay for software with an 'autopilot' setting, when it comes to security. But free stuff sure is nice and wallet friendly.

Well, we do not want to be too strict, but yes, it would be good if you avoided mentioning commercial software, even if they were the commercial versions of a free software. After all, the site is about freeware, and we would like to keep it that way :). Also, please post in the forum for longer discussions, or out of topic discussions, since your present comment is not related to the topic. We do appreciate your comment though, and also that you find Gizmo's Freeware useful :).

I've used Sandboxie for a while, and feel uncomfortable without it; it's like learning to use a seat belt. A couple of things to note: you have to exit Sandboxie to perform changes to profiles -- bookmarks, for example, because your profiles reside in your system (your browser will tell you that the bookmark is saved, but it ain't so). Key loggers can reside in the Sandboxie window and do their dirty, so be paranoid enough to empty the sandbox before going to any sensitive sites (bank, etc.). It should also be a reflex to delete any sandboxed files before closing down.

Thanks redstick for your comment :). I agree, once you start using Sandboxie, you get used to it, but that's a good habit to have. I have already mentioned the point about saving settings outside of Sandboxie for them to stick, and have also covered the point about bookmarks, under Settings section about web browsers... by allowing direct access to bookmarks, they will be saved without the need to save them out of Sandboxie. It's a good point about emptying Sandboxie before doing any banking work. I will try to include it in the article somewhere. Thanks :)

Whoops! My bad -- apologies for stating the already stated. Speed-read strikes again.

I've been using Sandboxie successfully for years. Having recommended the program to a number of other people this will be an excellent article to point them to for getting started. Even with experienced users it's good to cover the basics again. Many thanks.

My pleasure :), and I sincerely hope people will be helped by this article.

Excellent article Anupam!

Just 4 observations from me:

1. The free version (which we are concerned with at Gizmo's) only allows users to open one sandbox at a time. So plan with this in mind.

2. After installing Sandboxie for 30 days, the user will get a pop-up dialog box that imposes a 5-second delay.

3. As great a program as Sandboxie is, it is not fool-proof, and users must still be alert and practice safe computer habits.

4. The yellow box surrounding the browser, or whatever program is sandboxed, only appears when the mouse is pointed at the top of the window (at least on my installation of Sandboxie it is so).

1 and 2 above may appear restrictive, but is a small price to pay for such a great program.

On #4, that's how Appearance works with default settings. If you like the yellow border to remain at all times, Go to:

Sandbox Settings>Appearance and untick "Display the border only when the mouse cursor is in the Window title".

You can also change the color of the border if you like. Personally, I don't like those color and prefer the traditional Sandboxie # marks in the Window title. If you like to try it, untick all settings under appearance and click apply.

Bo

I have now made the changes in the article and included all suggestions. Thanks again :).
Thanks a lot Joe :) And really good suggestions! I will include them all in the article. Good observation on the 4th point, will make corrections. Many thanks! :)

I'm just happy that I can make a worthwhile input :)

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