Software Virtualization With SafeSpace

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 7, 2008
Updated • Nov 15, 2010
Software, Windows

Software virtualization is a clever security concept that puts certain applications and files in something that can be described as a virtual room where they cannot harm the underlying system. The benefits of this method are huge but unfortunately though not many users are using software virtualization solutions.

One small example. Downloading an infected file with your web browser or email client will have no negative impact on the core system. The virus will be executed in the virtual space and once that is purged, either manually or by logging off, it vanishes as if it never was executed in first place.

The software virtualization tool SafeSpace comes with a default set of applications that are always run in the sandbox and provides easy means to add additional applications. Besides that several directories, and their subdirectories, are automatically protected as well. This includes the Windows and Program Files directory among others.

SafeSpace protects the files and registry settings of the operating system by virtualizing any changes made by applications running inside SafeSpace. This means that applications can read the real data of Windows and any programs which are installed. But when applications attempt to make any changes to the real data, a virtual copy is created inside SafeSpace and the changes are made to the virtual data instead to prevent any changes from affecting the real data

SafeSpace provides a very clean and easy to use interface that is divided into a Privacy and Application tab basically. The application tab contains those applications that will run in the virtual environment while the Privacy tab contains folders and their status in the environment. Four statuses are available.

  • Virtual: Files can be read normally but write processes are virtualized which ensures that the files remain unchanged
  • Private: Applications running in the virtual environment can't access those folders and files stored within.
  • Read Only: Files can be read but no write process is allowed.
  • Full Control: Gives virtual applications full control over the files in that folder.

When a software gets launched that is listed in the application list of SafeSpace it is specifically marked with a red border. This is a visual sign for the user that the application is running in a virtual environment.

Any file that gets downloaded from a virtual application will also be run in the virtual environment when it is executed even if it is saved in the "real" part of the hard drive.

The software virtualization application comes with another handy feature, a tool to prevent keyloggers for applications in the virtual environment.

Installation was not a problem at all. Just execute it like any other software and restart the computer at the end. Windows XP users need the Microsoft .net Framework 2.0 if they want to run the software virtualization application.

SafeSpace will have created the sandbox after the restart and applications like Firefox or Internet Explorer will automatically run in it.


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  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved:

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run.

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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