BufferZone Pro, Free Sandboxing Software, Sandboxie Alternative

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 7, 2012
Updated • Jun 7, 2012
Security, Software, Windows software

An effective way to reduce the impact of malware on a system is to sandbox applications. One of the most popular programs in this regard is Sandboxie which we can fully recommend.

BufferZone Pro is a free alternative for the Windows operating system that shares many of the traits that make Sandboxie so great. Once you have installed the program on a system, you will notice that it automatically sandboxes a set of default programs and processes. The program ships with a default set of programs that are automatically sandboxed when they are run on the system.

Firefox, Google Chrome, Skype and Internet Explorer are just a few of the programs that are automatically recognized and put into a sandbox. A red border around a program window indicates that it is currently sandboxed. New users may want to open the main program window to edit configuration settings before they continue to work on the system.

The main program window displays the programs and processes that are currently sandboxed, statistics about program activities, and links to preferences to change the program behavior.

Here it is for instance possible to add new processes to the list of programs that are automatically sandboxed when started, remove programs again, or empty the current Bufferzone.
Internet Explorer can furthermore make use of the Private Zone feature that allows them to configure sites, e.g. banking or shopping sites, that should automatically isolate the browser in a sandbox when opened.

A click on the small button on the left side of the program window opens an advanced menu where additional preferences become available.

Policy for instance allows you to change default program behavior. BufferZone by default will installed unsigned programs in the sandbox. You can make modifications here, for instance to install all programs that are installed from external devices inside the sandbox.

The firewall page lets you allow or deny network access for programs running in the virtual environment, with options to configure those rights for all programs or select programs only.

Configuration finally lets you configure passwords for program access, configure advanced policy controls for signed and unsigned installers and external devices by type, or whether you'd like to empty the buffer automatically or only manually.

All programs and files that you download from within a sandboxed program are automatically virtualized. While you still see them listed on the system, they are virtual and will be executed in a sandbox when run. You do however have the option to move the files out of the sandbox, which can be useful if you want to keep the files, or process them in third party programs. This is done by right-clicking the files and selecting the move or open outside of Bufferzone option in Windows Explorer.

You usually do want to execute the downloaded files in the virtual environment though as a security precataution, especially for files where you can't say for sure that they are clean. The sandbox prevents damages to the system should the files that you run inside the sandbox are indeed malicious in nature.

A snapshot of the current state can be created at any time, and restored at a later point in time. This can be useful if you want to restore the Bufferzone to a previous state.

It is lastly possible to hide files and folders from the BufferZone, which basically means that programs running inside the virtual environment cannot access those files or folders even if they try to do so.

BufferZone Pro has been designed as another line of defense on a system. It works very well in conjunction with antivirus software, considering that it will protect the system if malware managed to slip past the installed antivirus solution.

The program itself is compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Microsoft Windows operating systems. Interested users who are not yet fully convinced can run a free security test on their system to see what security software can do when Bufferzone is not installed, and what will happen when it is installed on the system.

BufferZone Pro is offered for free at the Trustware website.


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  1. Ron said on December 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Mr. Brinkmann,
    I want to thank you for your gift to me of Ashampoo’s Movie Studio for this holiday season!

    I will go about to learn all I can about its features and employ them to make my movie of my wife. She was the one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, and combined with that stunning outer-beauty was an even more wonderfully loving inner-beauty that was so magnetic!

    Again, thank you so much for your holiday gift to me,.. and Ghacks, in general, for allowing me to stay abreast of all the software developments.. Emphasis on ‘security’ is EXACTLY what I search-out, and use, as I have elderly friends that are hampered with a perennial hacker that never seems to get enough pleasure endlessly creating havoc with their computers. In unison with a slide-out HD drawer, I have now taught them how to use a duplicating device to quickly re-duplicate the OS hardrive in their computers. This saves a 60 mile roundtrip to do the job myself, which I had previously done over a hundred times in past years!
    Thanks again, Mr Brinkmann!!
    God Bless,
    Ron K, Major, USAF, Ret.

  2. Confused said on December 5, 2013 at 2:09 am

    I’m sorry… it’s *possible* to hide the files and folders on your computer from applications running in the sandbox? isn’t that the reason i’m looking for a sandbox in the first place? what the hell am I downloading if i download this if it doesn’t isolate the sandboxed application from interacting with my sensitive data?

    I’m not a computer savant; I dont know every possible route that malicious software could take to attack my computer, so how would I, an end-user, have use for a sandboxing utility that does not itself take the necessary steps to block those routes?

    This ugly excerpt has stopped me from downloading bufferzone: “It is lastly possible to hide files and folders from the BufferZone, which basically means that programs running inside the virtual environment cannot access those files or folders even if they try to do so.”

    If I’m misreading the statement due to its ambiguity, then the fact remains: I still won’t be downloading this. Perhaps it needs to be written more clearly. “this utility makes it possible…”, etc. with a dash of “certain programs can be given greater leeway in accessing files it requests to see on your computer”.

  3. Michael Orr said on July 26, 2012 at 4:32 am

    The problem with Sandboxing – how do you know if it is Malware?
    (Disclaimer – I am a long time Sandboxie user, have not tried alternatives)

    A basic problem with all Sand-boxing application is this- you download and run an application in the sandbox. if you want, you can empty the sandbox, so if it was Malware, you can easily remove it with all traces. Great, but – How do you know if it was Malware to be removed, or a useful application to keep or even re-install outside the sandbox? It may not have immediate obvious visible symptoms. Are you expected to go over all changes done to your system and analyze each one on merit ? mots users don’t have the time and skill to do that.

    I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts on that

  4. kris said on July 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    why is it that Buffer zone and you tube dont get along,cant hear the music and it stops in the middle of the video,plz help

  5. DanTe said on June 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I’m sticking with Sandboxie for now. Since Ghacks reviewed Sandboxie, I had purchased a few lifetime licenses.

    I would appreciate it if someone who had tried the both of them would post which one is better.

  6. kupo said on June 8, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Before, it comes with two “flavors” the Free and the Pro version.
    The free version before only protects you from limited applications.
    The pro version before does all what the free version today is.
    The reason that they made the pro version free, according to them, is because of the giveaway that they did during the Christmas of 2011. Many people take advantage of that offer. It is because the free version before is very limited unlike the free version of Sandboxie.

  7. Levi said on June 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I tried it a while back but as far as I remember it slowed my old pc to a crawl. How efficient is it with resources?

  8. Bonsai said on June 8, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Hi Martin, please review this program ToolWiz TimeFreeze, maybe you know it.

  9. Paul B. said on June 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Would I be able to install an application into the sandbox, for testing purposes, and then simply wipe it out, all without affecting the Windows registry?


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Yes you can install applications in the virtual environment and flush them when you do not need them anymore. Please note that I have not tested this extensively.

      1. Paul B. said on June 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm

        Thanks, Martin. I will give it a try.

  10. VirtualGuy said on June 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Not compatible with Comodo Internet Security. I use the Comodo Firewall. I would rather do without the sandbox than do without the firewall. Perhaps they will fix this in a future product update.

  11. VirtualGuy said on June 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    “Trustware is led by a strong executive management team with years of experience managing and developing security companies and products. The company was named by Microsoft and The Marker business magazine as one of the 10 Hot Startups of 2006.”

    I don’t understand why this company would develop this software and provide it to to anyone, everywhere, free of charge. Their Web site is not an ad supported site. The download bandwidth comes at their expense, as do the resources to develop the software. Why would they make it free to all?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      As far as I know, they have Enterprise products that they make money from.

      1. PedroM said on September 15, 2019 at 7:38 pm

        @gpuser You gave the correct answer and you’re right!

    2. gpuser said on June 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      to attract the masses.
      if everything goes well and the software is known they will probably release a paid version with extra features n more control, soon.

  12. Matias S. Aquino said on June 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm


    I´ve been using Sandboxie for many years. I use it, besides browsing, for testing a huge number of programs and games. Not once has it let malware pass by!

    Care to elaborate a little more about what happened to you?

  13. txdave said on June 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Good luck to all you people downloading and trying this software out for me it was a complete joke after installing and running the web browser the only site I could connect to was Yahoo mail any other site or link ended up with could not connect I tried IE 9 I tried Opera I tried Firefox they all ended up the same I looked in the settings tried adjusting the firewall but no help uninstalled and will stick with sandboxie

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      I did not experience those issues Dave.

  14. Claude LaFrenière said on June 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm


    Just downloading and installing Buffer Zone Pro. Looks great for now. I will leave feedback on BZP after a couple of day of use…

    Have a nice day. :)

    1. Claude LaFreniere said on June 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Hi :)

      Okay: I tested the application for few day. In general it works well with some exceptions. For example; Firefox 32 bits or Waterfox 64 bits are not responding from times to times…

      Also: how it’s possible to test this application?

      Note on 5: 3 and half.

      Thank you. Have a nice day! :)

  15. Ventriloquest said on June 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Can’t comment on BufferZone, but Sandboxie didn’t keep the malware out of my computer. Fortunately Clonezilla came into rescue after that.

    Only foolproof virtualization program that I have used and never has failed is Returnil(which is actually a rollback program). It has restored my system to normal after RAM crashes(deliberate ones), malwares and every other quirk possible.

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