The Best Sandbox Software for Testing Windows Programs in a Safe Environment
When testing a new app, use a sandbox environment to protect your machine from malicious software.
When testing a new, unfamiliar app, there’s just one surefire way to keep your computer safe: use a sandbox environment.
The sandbox environment is isolated from the rest of your system if the application is insecure, dangerous, part of an adware package, or maybe a virus. That usually entails the absence of any impediment, such as a virus or other malware. It’s as simple as deleting the offending post from the system.
Isn’t that fantastic? There are a few distinct sandbox programmes available for Windows users. Here are two of the best, in no particular order.
1. Turn on the Windows 10 Sandbox feature.
If you have Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education, you may take use of a number of new features. The sandbox function, which you can enable with a few simple clicks, is one of the best (and most hidden) of these.
To enable Windows Sandbox, go to Start, type “windows features” into the search box, and then select “Turn Windows features on or off.” Scroll down in the new window and check the “Windows Sandbox” box, then click OK and restart your computer.
You should be able to find “windows sandbox” in the Start menu now. You’ll find it there, click it to open it, and you’ll be good to go.
If you don’t see the Sandbox option, check your motherboard BIOS (usually by pressing the Delete, F2 or F8 keys when your PC is loading) to determine if hardware virtualization is enabled.
2. BitBox option (Browser in the Box)
This programme, which stands for “Browser in the Box,” is intended exclusively for online browsing in a sandbox environment. It’s available in Chrome and Firefox versions, and it’s essentially a VirtualBox instance of Linux created exclusively for browsing, so it uses a little more memory than the other options on this list.
BitBox has the capacity to download files to your physical PC, so you must determine if you want this to happen and configure BitBox accordingly. It takes important safeguards, such as turning off your microphone and monitoring all host-BitBox contacts, to make it a safe and secure option.
BufferZone is an endpoint sandboxing tool, which means that if you’re going to portions of the Internet that could be risky for your computer’s security, or if someone passes you a USB stick that you don’t trust (it happens to everyone, right? ), it’s a good idea to run things through BufferZone first. It’s simple to add new apps to run through BufferZone, and it’s compatible with all major web browsers.
You don’t need to do much tweaking to get it up and running, which is a benefit over alternative sandbox software. BufferZone makes it difficult for web-based harmful software to get onto your PC by enclosing your chosen activities in a safe Virtual Zone. Everything you run through it becomes “read-only,” ensuring that no malware may write itself to your hard disc.
Sandboxie is a popular and widely used tool for sandboxing and isolating programmes from the underlying Windows operating system. Sandboxie is both lightweight and free, which are two wonderful features. Sandboxie allows you to install and run nearly any Windows programme. You can use Sandboxie to run any already installed programme, such as your web browser, in addition to installing software. Simply choose “Sandbox -> Default Box -> Run Sandboxed -> Run Web browser” from the menu. Select “Run Any Program” if you want to run another programme.
A broad yellow border around the window indicates that you are in a sandboxed environment when you launch a programme in Sandbox mode. Sandboxie is available in both free and premium editions, with the free version lacking some key features such as required apps, multiple sandboxes, and so on. The free version, on the other hand, should serve for most home users.
5. SANDBOX WITH SHADE
Another popular and free sandboxing application is Shade Sandbox. Shade’s user interface is significantly simpler, intuitive, and beginner-friendly than Sandboxie’s.
Simply drag and drop an application into the Shade Sandbox window to sandbox it. The application will be automatically sandboxed the next time you run it.
All of your browsing history, temporary files, cookies, Windows registry, system files, and other items are well segregated from the operating system when you use Shade Sandbox. Any files you download with Shade will be saved in the Virtual Downloads folder, which you may access via the Shade interface. Shade Sandbox is a sandbox programme with a simple user interface that is perfect for beginners.
6. Toolwiz Time Freeze
Toolwiz Time Freeze works in a very different way from the sandbox apps mentioned above. Toolwiz Time Freeze produces a virtual clone of your whole system settings and files and saves the state when you install it. Simply reboot the machine after utilising the application you want to test, and it will be restored immediately. When you want to thoroughly test a programme with no restrictions but don’t want the programme to make any changes to the host operating system, this type of application comes in handy.
7. Shadow Defender
Toolwiz Time Freeze is similar to Shadow Defender. You will be prompted to virtualize your system disc and any additional drives you want when you install and initialize the software. Any changes made to the system after it has been virtualized are lost the next time the system is rebooted.
Of course, you can always define which files and folders Shadow Mode should not affect. This allows you to pick and choose which changes you want to preserve and which ones you don’t. When in Shadow Mode, all you have to do is click the “Commit Now” button in the main window to save a downloaded file or commit to a system change.
8. Create a Virtual Machine
Light virtualization is what all of the aforementioned sandbox programs perform. That is, the apps you’re evaluating are still functioning, albeit in a limited capacity, on the host operating system. If you want complete virtualization, you can use Virtual Box or VMware to create a virtual machine with the operating system of your choice.
After you’ve played around with these Windows sandbox applications, why not put your real PC to the test by running some benchmarks? Visit our guides on how to benchmark your CPU and stress-test your GPU in Windows 10 for more information.