Sandboxie Is Released As Freeware, Soon To Be Open Source


Sandboxie logo

Sophos has released sandbox isolation program Sandboxie as freeware. Sandboxie runs programs in a "sandbox", a virtual container where programs can be run without  modifying the operating system or data. Sandboxie acts as a virtual, transparent layer between programs and your operating system, allowing you to run programs such as browsers, email, and office suites without making changes to the operating system or other data on your computer.
Everything done inside a sandbox can be undone and deleted.

Sandboxie was initially released in 2004 and was freeware until the company changed hands. Sophos subsequently purchased Sandboxie and recently decided to make the program freeware starting with the current version (5.31.4), released this week. Sophos plans to transition Sandboxie to open source sometime in the future.

Downloading Sandboxie requires reading and agreeing to the EULA (End User License Agreement), then being taken to a Software Export Compliance screen that asks for first name, last name, email address, job role and company, industry, company, country, state/province, zip or postal code. After that information is submitted you're taken to a screen that says your download will start automatically, with a link that starts a direct download of version 5.31.4 if it doesn't start.
Sophos states the information is "Due to requirements of the U.S. government, export compliance is now mandatory when downloading our software".

Installation includes a brief tutorial as part of the installation process and the site has tips and how-to's.

It's worth mentioning that starting with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903), Microsoft is providing a built in sandbox isolation program. Directions on how to enable the Windows 10 Sandbox for Pro and Enterprise versions are here, directions to enable Windows Sandbox in the Home edition of Windows 10 are here.

Sandboxie works on:

  • Windows XP SP3 (Up until Sandboxie 5.22 )
  • Windows 7 (32/64)
  • Windows 8.1 (32/64)
  • Windows 10 (32/64)(Edge browser & Metro(tile) Apps not supported)
  • Windows 10 Insider Preview (Fast Ring) supported in Beta builds that are released in the User Forum
  • There is some support for older 64-bit versions of Windows: see the download page.

Supported Web Browsers (32 & 64 bit supported)

  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Opera
  • Cyberfox
  • SeaMonkey
  • Vivaldi
  • Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 & 11
  • Waterfox
  • Nightly Builds of FF
  • Chromium

Sandboxie does not work on...

  • Windows XP x64 bit
  • Windows 95, 98 or ME
  • Mac or Linux operating systems.


(h/t Open Source For U)

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at rhiannon,
Something To Be AWARE Of -
Some years ago when Tzuk still owned it, (before Sophos ended up with it) there were (a few) Malicious Code Writers that figured out how to have their M S/W look for the indications that they were in a sandbox.. The germs would then lay low/remain doormat until the user (thinking the s/w was clean) would then install it into their system. Thankfully not every germ writer knew how to do this and Tzuk was able to change something (in his code?) that made it harder or impossible for the germs to tell when they were in a virtual environment.

Sophos announced that they were going to release the [Source Code] to the project when they announced there were no more paid versions the other day.

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but won't this make it easier for Malicious Cogwaddlers to defeat the program?
There used to be a couple of standalone programs that created temporary virtual environments, StorageCraft also had one as did Acronis True Image ("Try It and Decide" or something) but were abandoned because of the
difficulty in not letting the Malware know they were in a sandbox.
Except Sandboxie.
Seems like that could change if the code is released.

Good points.
Releasing code to open source is actually a good thing. It let's anyone see what's in the code - people see if there's something wrong so it can be fixed, see if something has been added that shouldn't be there, and can make suggestions for additions.
Lots of eyes on the code is a good thing. The other thing that's good is that anyone with the skills can improve the program and add features.

There are some good programs that create a virtual machine in your computer (Virtual Box comes to mind), one of the differences between Sandboxie and a virtual machine is that Sandboxie has an option that allows you to keep some aspects of the Sandbox session. If you download a program and opt to keep it, it will still be there when you close Sandboxie.
Virtual machine programs don't, as far as I know, retain any changes from any session - if you download a program I believe it disappears. I haven't used one for a while so I'm not 100% sure about that, I'm going on past experience.

It's true that one of the requirements of Windows Sandbox for Windows 10 are that it should run on Windows Pro (or Enterprise). The other requirements can be seen here:

Good article, thanks. :)

Please understand that Windows Sandbox is not being talked here. The article is about the software Sandboxie. As such, Windows Sandbox is out of topic for this article.

Windows 10 Sandbox was mentioned in the article (line 16) as an alternative. Seems to me, that makes it admissible, counselor.

Okay, you are right. Sorry about that. My bad.

Thanks for all the comments, I don't mind anything off being pointed out or being corrected when I'm off base.

I edited the article to make it clearer that Windows Sandbox is an alternative and included a link to enable it for Windows 10 Home Edition.

I'm sorry for any confusion, my aim is to always provide as many options and as much information as I can to everyone. I occasionally fail or don't do it well and I appreciate the input when I don't.

No confusion here. You do a great job, rhiannon.
Thanks for the Windows sandbox info. This is the first I've heard of it being possible in the Home edition. Will definitely try it out.
My one issue was enabling Virtualization in the UEFI. Finally found the setting on one of my computers but still can't find it on the other.
Came across this tip: You can see if Virtualization is enabled by checking the Task Manager Performance tab (lower right side).

Oh that is a great tip, thank you. And thank you for the kind words.

Well, since Sandboxie is only for Windows pro and up it doesn't apply to about 90% of Windows users. Why exclude us?

Hmmmm, I'm not seeing anywhere in the article where I stated Sandboxie is for Windows Pro users only. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The article lists exactly what operating systems Sandboxie runs on, here they are again in case there are questions:

Sandboxie works on

  • Windows XP SP3 (Up until Sandboxie 5.22 )
  • Windows 7 (32/64)
  • Windows 8.1 (32/64)
  • Windows 10 (32/64)(Edge browser & Metro(tile) Apps not supported)
  • Windows 10 Insider Preview (Fast Ring) supported in Beta builds that are released in the User Forum
  • There is some support for older 64-bit versions of Windows: see the download page


It's the WINDOWS Sandbox that's not currently available in the Home version. SANDBOXIE is a completely independent program and anyone can install it.

Correct, it's not available by default in the Home version but it can be enabled. I've added a link with directions, and a search for Enable Windows Sandbox Windows 10 Home will bring up other sites with similar instructions.

Sandboxie is for Windows 10 Pro and up? Where did you read that?

I am running Sandboxie without any problem on my Windows 10 Home PC.

Thank you. It is a great piece of software. Saved my bacon and computer a time or two. Seemed a bit strange I had to fill out the "Software Export Compliance" form, but...

Yes, Sandboxie is a great program.
I've used it for at least 10 years (even just tested a downloaded screensaver sandboxed since I wasn't familiar with the website).
At times, a major Windows update will cause an issue with Sandboxie and in the past it has been addressed rather promptly by the programmers. The talk in the forums of late is concern that the more hands-off policy of the new ownership will change that.
Please correct me it I'm wrong, but I believe the Windows 10 Sandbox is only available in the Pro or Enterprise versions. Would love to try it.

Windows Sandbox can be enabled in the Home version, I've added a link in the article above. :)

This is GREAT NEWS for a wonderful Windows software app!

I agree. When it went to a paid version I stopped using it, I'm glad it's freeware.

rhiannon said
I agree. When it went to a paid version I stopped using it, I'm glad it's freeware.

I guess you didn't know, there has always been a free version available. When Tzuk owned it from 2004 to Dec 2016, he had the Pro version for sale and if after 30 days you didn't activate it you lost a few functionalities ie ... only the default sandbox, (no additional sandboxes) no Forced Programs and a nag screen for 10 seconds and you had to wait for the ten seconds before starting a program in a sandbox.
Even when Invincea bought it and then got bought up by Sophos in Feb of 2017 and started selling a paid Home version and a paid Commercial version you could download the home version and after 30 days you lost the few functionalities unless you already had the free version installed, then it went straight to the limited version.
I've been using the free version all along until today when I read your article (Thanks for that by the way) and D/L 5.34 x64.
If you use the Wayback Machine you can still download versions back to 3.76.
Some guy turned me on to this back in 04/05, I believe his name was Ian Richards. I was really grateful. This was the best thing I'd seen since sliced bread hit the table.
With Buster Sandbox Analyzer you can watch the scumware you catch in your Sandboxie sandbox.

Lol no, I didn't know, and thank you for the information. :)

Thanks Rhiannon for this very helpful freeware information.
If users computers can run this, I see this announcement as one of most significant Hot Finds ever on this site
I used Sandboxie frequently when I had software I wanted to test without installing. It isolated the exe in its own safe area away from your OS

Great find Rhiannon !

You're very welcome, I'm delighted you like it. Sandboxie is a great piece of software, it can keep people safe while they browse and if you do much software download and testing it makes it sooooo much easier. It's very versatule and useful for so many things..