Sandboxie is considered a valuable security tool by many users. The program was acquired by Sophos and later open sourced, which was of course a very welcome move. This is where it gets better.
There is an officially recognized fork of the original program called Sandboxie Plus, which is also open source. It is maintained by David Xanatos, the developer who created TaskExplorer.
What’s the difference between Sandboxie and Sandboxie Plus?
Sandboxie Plus has a different icon, it features a sand bucket and a shovel.
The biggest change however is of course the main interface of the application, which the developer calls the Sandman UI (short for Sandboxie Manager). The GUI is modern and looks user-friendly compared to the legacy version’s interface.
(Sandboxie’s old UI)
The SandMan UI is based on Qt, and replaces the old MFC (Microsoft Foundation Class Library) based interface used for SbieCtrl.exe. Want the old program? Sandboxie Classic is still maintained and available from the official GitHub page.
If you don’t know how to use Sandboxie, refer to my tutorial for it, despite the UI overhaul the core functionality of the new version remains the same.
Let me give you a quick overview of how to work with it. Sandboxie Plus has two panes, the top one starts with a DefaultBox which is the preset sandbox, and it’s located inside a folder in your C: drive. Right-click inside the pane to create a new box, it’s that simple.
Right-click on the tray icon to show or hide the program, terminate all programs, or disable applications that were forced to run in the sandboxed mode. So, where did the shortcuts to open programs go?
Let’s go back to the UI, select a sandbox and right-click on it to access the context menu. The first option, Run, has the shortcuts that you’re looking for. This is a little inconvenient if you’re used to the old version, but it’s not a dealbreaker. Other options in the menu allow you to terminate any running programs, explore the contents of the box. You can save your sandbox by taking snapshots.
Switch to the Simple View from the view menu to get rid of the toolbar, bottom pane. Drag and drop executable onto Sandboxie Plus’ interface to run them in sandboxed mode. The virtual environment tool adds the good-old “Run Sandboxed” option to the Explorer shell-menu, which you can use to run programs securely.
The toolbar has six buttons: the first one opens the settings, the second one “Keep Terminated” saves closed programs in the sandbox’s memory. The Cleanup menu discards processes and the logs for the three panes at the bottom. The 4th option on the toolbar opens the Sandboxie.INI for editing. Changes that you make to it are saved automatically, and you don’t need to restart the program.
The Sbie messages tab in the bottom pane stores a log of actions performed in the sandbox. The Resource Monitor displays the Process ID of programs that are running. The Api Call Log needs to be configured manually, and this isn’t something the average user needs.
To set a custom location for your sandbox, head over to the Options menu > Global Settings > Advanced Options > Sandbox default, and select the folder of your choice. There are lots of other settings that you can tinker including Software Compatibility options.
To modify a Sandbox however, you’ll need to right-click on it on the main screen and select Sandbox Options. Change the color of the sandbox window border, and set whether the indicator # symbol should be displayed in the title bar of programs.
The Program Groups tab has a list of preset applications, well it has two groups of browsers, which Sandboxie Plus will isolate from the rest of your computer. You may add new groups or new programs to an existing group using the buttons on the right edge of the tab.
Want to run specific programs in the sandbox by default? That’s precisely what the Forced Programs tab is for. Just add the executable’s name, e.g. Brave.exe and it will be added to the forced program list, this also works with Groups.
This should be enough to get started with the program, but there are more settings that you may want to modify as the need arises. A support community for the application can be found on Wilder’s Security forums. If you ever wanted to use Sandboxie, but were scared by its interface, try Sandboxie Plus.