Application Sandboxing on your Surface

Application Sandboxing on your Surface

If you’re security conscious, you’ve probably installed good Surface. You may have even tightened up your firewall settings and installed a VPN in order to be as safe online as you can be.

However, there’s still something you can do to make your system even more secure (especially when web browsing) and it’s pretty easy to implement.

It’s called application sandboxing.

Application Sandboxing on your Surface: What is Application Sandboxing?

At the most basic level, application sandboxing is a technology that creates a “virtual space” in which you can run programs. This, in effect, isolates programs in the sandbox from the rest of your computer and prevents those sandboxed applications from making any permanent changes to your computer.

For example, if you run Chrome in a sandbox, and if you accidentally click on one of those popups that installs some dodgy toolbar (or something worse), all you have to do is close down the sandboxed browser, empty the sandbox, and restart Chrome to wipe out any nefarious changes. Cool, huh?

Application Sandboxing on your Surface: What Are My Sandbox Options?

Like everything else nowadays, there’s a multitude of options you could try. However, to keep it simple, I’m going to present to you just two… Sandboxie and Shade Sandbox.


Sandboxie is, arguably, the best known and most popular application sandboxing solution. It is pretty feature-rich but that might make it a little confusing for less technical people. However, it is very flexible and, if you learn how to use it properly, very powerful.


  • Free
  • You can simply right-click on an application or desktop icon to start the application in sandboxed mode
  • You can create multiple sandboxes
  • You can create desktop icons to automatically run applications in the sandbox. When you install Sandboxie, it automatically places a “sandboxed” icon for your default web browser on your desktop.
  • Outlines sandboxed apps with a yellow box, so you can easily tell they are sandboxed.
  • Works well with most applications.


  • Can be a bit intimidating for less technical users.
  • Does not work with tiles (Win 8.x) or the Win 10 Start Menu. Just desktop icons and application in File Explorer.

Bottom line: If you want to have a lot of control over your sandboxed apps and you’re willing to spend a little time sorting through and learning options, Sandboxie is for you.[divider]

Cybergenic Shade Sandbox

Shade Sandbox doesn’t offer the options that Sandboxie does but, if you want a sandboxing application that’s simple to run and you want to use it (mainly) for your web browser, this is it.

You don’t need to choose whether or not to run an application in the sandbox, the Shade Sandbox automatically runs applications the sandbox once configured. In fact, by default, it will find web browsers you have installed on your Surface (except for Edge) and automatically add them to the sandbox.

Unfortunately, this can be problematic, if you don’t want to run the app in a sandbox, because you’ll need to open the Shade Sandbox options and remove it. If you want to run it in the sandbox again, you’ll need to re-add it to the Shade Sendbox.


  • Free
  • Very simple to use
  • Outlines sandboxed apps with a violet box, so you can easily tell they are sandboxed.


  • “All or nothing”. If an app is configured to be sandboxed, you can’t run it normally.
  • Shows a popup (and plays an associated sound) for just about everything it does. It gets annoying quickly.
  • It is designed mainly for web browsers; so, it might not work as well for other applications.
  • Does not work with tiles (Win 8.x) or the Win 10 Start Menu. Just desktop icons and application in File Explorer.

Bottom line: This is a very easy to use sandboxing utility but it might not be as flexible as you would like.

Both applications work fine on any Surface Pro or Surface 3 (sorry, they don’t work on Windows RT) and can help your Surface be even more secure quickly and easily.