Sandboxie does what virtual machines such as VMware Player, Virtual Box and Microsoft Virtual PC do with the difference that it works on the application level and not the operating system level. Instead of running a virtual operating system that makes it safe to try and test software, it lets you run software in a sandbox on your current operating system with the same result.
Normally, programs that you execute on your system have both read and write access to the system. Sandboxie steps in between and creates a virtual sandbox around applications you specify. Reads are still allowed but writes are virtualized so that applications can't modify programs or files on the underlying system. Writes are only allowed in the sandbox, or if you explicitly permit them. This can be useful if you are running your web browser in the sandbox. If writes are not allowed, you can't permanently download files to your local system. To bypass that, you simply allow the application to write to the system this time.
Sandboxie is an excellent program when it comes to running select applications in a sandbox. It is perfect for software testers, bloggers for instance, that often run programs on their system that they have never heard of. There is always an uncertainty factor when it comes to those programs, even if they are scanned by up to date antivirus software before they are executed on the system.
Running programs in a sandbox has other benefits. You can for instance run your email client in the sandbox to prevent email attachments from infecting your system, or use it to improve your privacy since cookies, the browsing history or other temporary files are not kept permanently when the programs that create them are run in the sandbox.
Sandboxie has come a long way since this review. Check out our review of the last Sandboxie version here.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.