Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Software License Giveaway: Sandboxie

It Brings Me Special Pleasure To Announce My Latest Software License Giveaway: Sandboxie

SecurityNowLogo “…it is, I think, as important a tool as a personal firewall is for network communication.~ Steve Gibson ¹ on Security Now, Episode #172.

Regular readers may remember that I have recommended Sandboxie here before. I’ve used it for as long as I can remember. I consider Sandboxie an essential and primary tool for protecting my machines from cybercrimals (incorrectly called “hackers”). I’ll speak to this more in a bit…

How it works: Sandboxie takes a whole different approach (tactic) than traditional antivirus and anti-Spyware programs use to protecting you. Sandboxie runs your applications (aka “programs”) in an isolated area called a “sandbox”, as this animation shows…

Any programs that are “launched” (aka “Open”-ed, aka “run”) within Sandboxie only function within the sandbox, and have no direct access to your files, the Windows operating system or any other part of your PC. After you have finished with the ‘session’, you can right click the Sandboxie icon and delete all sandboxed files and processes, and your PC will be returned to the same state it was in before you started (how those red boxes vanish). To paraphrase, “What happens in the sandbox stays in the sandbox.”

Some Benefits of the Isolated Sandbox

  • Secure Web Browsing: Running your Web browser under the protection of Sandboxie means that all malicious software downloaded by the browser is trapped in the sandbox and can be discarded trivially.
  • Enhanced Privacy: Browsing history, cookies, and cached temporary files collected while Web browsing stay in the sandbox and don’t leak into Windows.
  • Secure E-mail: Viruses and other malicious software that might be hiding in your email can’t break out of the sandbox and can’t infect your real system.

How I use Sandboxie: The main thing I use Sandboxie for is when I want to explore unknowns; the second use is for when I want to explore ‘known bad’s’ or ‘known risky’ (such as when I want to see how a new item of malware installs itself, so I can better remove it). What do I mean by “unknowns”? Websites I have not visited before.. and those PowerPoint slideshows people “forward” to me.  Frankly, I almost always open my web browser, Firefox, “sandboxed”, and I recommend you get in the habit too – the Internet is not a clean, well-lighted place, but an un-policed criminal’s playground; and even “safe” websites get hacked.
When I am asked to review a new (to me) program, I first “install” it in a sandbox. There is a tutorial on this here, How To Investigate Suspicious File using Sandboxie.
(An example of “known risky” would be P2P downloads (aka “Torrents”) and porn sites.)

Sandboxie allows me to be a better tech (and tech writer) because with it I can safely observe the techniques ‘hackers’ and malicious software employ. But it also plain and simply gives me a secure feeling when traveling around the Web, and I feel ‘naked’ without it.

Note: Sandboxie is NOT a replacement, nor substitute, for traditional anti-Malware (antivirus+anti-Spyware) but is used in conjunction with. (This is referred to as “layering” your defenses.) And Sandboxie is not exactly intuitive to the “average user”, so I highly recommend that first time users see Tutorial: Getting Started with Sandboxie. This is a serious security tool and taking the time to learn how it works is well worth it! Using Sandboxie is simple, there’s just a few things to know.

Who can use Sandboxie? Sandboxie runs on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems.

Okay. Okay. Okay! The contest!
Sandboxie’s creator, Ronen Tzur, has graciously and generously donated five licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank him for that. So I am going to do a random drawing ² contest from folks who “enter” my drawing. The contest will end midnight Thursday, July 15th, and the winners announced Friday the 16th.
A “registration” license is “lifetime” and can be used on as many computers as you own. Sandboxie currently retails for €29 Euros ($36.67). The other advantages of the paid version are listed here.

How to enter? To enter the drawing, simply click on “comment”, and enter your name and a valid e-mail (so we can send you the key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but it seems I do — multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)


GizmoAwardMy first recommendation for safe browsing is a free program called Sandboxie.~ JonathanT, Gizmo’s Best Free Browser Protection Utility.

Ronen has always offered this (essential, IMHO) security tool free, for which he has long earned a big tip of my Geek hat. It consistently wins “Best” and “Top” mentions on the reputable download sites, such as PC Magazine and MajorGeeks.

MajorGeeksLogo

click to read

You may use Sandboxie free of charge for any length of time that you desire. However, if you use Sandboxie for more than 30 days, the software will remind you to consider paying the registration fee each time it is launched. (By purchasing you would support further development and improvement of Sandboxie.) So, download your copy today, and then leave a comment — you just might win a lifetime license!

The Sandboxie website is here.

¹ Steve was named one of three Tech Paul’s Friend of the Internet Surfer Award winners to date. (I should name Ronen as my next winner for giving the world Sandboxie!)

² All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 5 results will be the winners.

Related: A man I know a little bit, and respect a lot, published this review of Sandboxie on Bright Hub, Sandboxie Review: Free Security Software for Your PC.

* You may want to take the time to read the other comments (below) too…

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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July 12, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, free software, hackers, how to, Internet, PC, security, software | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 174 Comments

Software License Giveaway: Genie Timeline Professional

Folks, I am Pleased to Announce My Latest Software License Giveaway Drawing.

The folks at Genie-soft have generously donated five licenses for Genie Timeline Professional 2.0 to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing ¹ contest from folks who “enter”. The contest will end midnight Thursday, June 10th, and the winners announced Friday.

Genie Timeline is a program that creates “backup copies” of the files and settings on your computer — which, regular readers know, is something I repeatedly urge people to do!!
With Timeline, you do not have to be “computer savvy”, and you can set-it-and-forget-it. Timeline constantly monitors your file system, automatically, for you. I will give you my impressions and some screenshots, but first…

from the publisher: One time setup; a lifetime of protection

The complete backup and Disaster Recovery solution; a user friendly and easy to use software. Genie Timeline 2.0 exceeds backup limits bringing backup software to a whole new level.

  • Revolutionizing “Set It and Forget It”
    Simple and Easy. Setup is done in 3 simple steps during which you can choose to use smart selections or customize data to backup through a friendly user interface.
  • Continuous Data Protection
    Intelligent. Data is continuously backed up depending on file types. Genie Timeline intelligently backs up files, such as documents, more frequently than large virtual images.
  • Disaster Recovery
    Genie Timeline Professional can restore all of your settings and data, even if your operating system no longer loads. You are given the option to create a bootable startup disk in a virtual partition, USB drive, or ISO image.
  • Restore revisions
    Go back in time with Genie Timeline and recover old files, whether through Timeline explorer or the search feature.
    Genie Timeline saves past versions of your documents which you can revert back to easily.
  • Performance
    Genie Timeline runs on different modes depending on usage. You can choose to run in Smart mode which slows down or speeds up according to CPU usage or Turbo mode which runs at fastest speed. Power Saving mode slows down Timeline when on the go and Game/Movie mode pauses backup while playing a game or watching a movie.
  • Data Types Backup a wide variety of data such as E-mails, Documents, Desktop, Office files, eBooks, Bookmarks, Pictures, Videos & Music. Moreover, if the data type is not included in the smart selections page you can always use the filters and add any extension you desire.
  • Security Protect and secure your data with 256-bit AES military-grade encryption.
  • More!
    See the Genie Timeline Datasheet – Download
  • System Requirements
    *  Intel Pentium® 4 processor or above, AMD Athlon™ 64
    * 512 MB RAM (1 GB RAM recommended)
    * 200 MB free hard drive space
    * Supports both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms
    * Windows® XP, Windows® Vista, Windows® 7

I found Timeline Professional 2.0 to be remarkably full-featured. It is polished and slick, and by that I mean it is very easy to use. Just follow the wizard. (One caveat: you should also select and create one of the three “disaster recovery” options.) The “always running” smart backup service did not noticeably slow my machine and Timeline did not annoy me with pop-ups. (The System Tray icon indicates your “backup health” status by changing.)
In a crowded market, I think Genie-soft Timeline  should be one of your top considerations – either “Home” (retail $39.95) or “Pro” (retail $59.95).

Perhaps my favorite feature is the simple way Timeline un-does an accidental deletion — simply right-click in the location where your file (or folder) was , and choose “undo delete”, and there’s your file (or folder) again! What will your favorite feature be? I don’t know: Timeline has too many for me to list here. (Fortunately, Genie-soft listed most of them for me, here.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A 30-day, fully-functional free trial of Timeline Professional 2.0 can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!)

How to enter? To enter the drawing, simply click on “comment”, and enter a name and valid e-mail (so I can send you the key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but it seems I do — multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 5 results will be the winners.

Yet one more reason I am so favorably impressed with Genie-soft is that they have made a version of Timeline which is free for personal use. The Edition comparison chart and download link is here.

Again, I thank the folks at Genie-soft for making this giveaway possible!

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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June 7, 2010 Posted by | Backups, computers, how to, software, Vista, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 75 Comments

Holiday Software License Giveaway: Handy Backup

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

The folks at have generously donated five licenses for Handy Backup Standard to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter” by posting a comment (below). The drawing will close Thursday, June 3rd, and the winners announced Friday. So act now.

Handy Backup is a program for creating “backup copies” of the files on your computer, which regular readers know, is something I repeatedly urge people to get into the habit of doing! With a backup program like Handy Backup, you don’t need a ‘habit’, you can set-it-and-forget-it. Below, I will give you my impressions and some screenshots, but first…

CNet Editors say,
“Handy Backup Standard offers users an easy, streamlined approach to backing up important files and folders. Novice users will especially appreciate the program’s easy navigation.”

Publisher’s description:

Handy Backup™ Standard is an easy-to-use backup software designed to perform automated backup of your computer. User-friendly interface and a rich set of backup features make it one of the best PC backup software for home and small office use.

Handy Backup will automatically backup your data with the options of file mask filtering, backup compression, backup encryption, “native”, and other options. The application supports backing up to DVD/CD, Blu-ray, HD DVD discs, LAN/FTP and Online.

Here is a “slideshow” of screenshots of Handy Backup Standard.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I found it easy enough for beginners, as it uses a “wizard” to walk you through the process of creating a “task” (a backup, or a restore) the first time it runs (but after that first time, you need to click on “New task”, which is not made obvious). I particularly like Handy Backup’s ability to automatically “span” a backup set across multiple CD/DVD discs (you must place a check in a checkbox, though), prompting you to insert a fresh disc when it fills up the current one. (One other note.. you need to place a check in “Verify the backup after burning” to help ensure a successful write. This should be the default, IMHO.) Handy Backup successfully handled every backup and every restore operation I tested it with. It is a full-featured backup solution.
One critique: it does not support “selective file restoring”.

(Those of you in medium to large business environments will want to look at Handy Backup Server. Handy Backup Server is a complete enterprise backup solution that allows performing centralized backup of all network workstations, on a client-server scheme.)

How to enter? To enter the drawing, simply click on “comment”, and enter a name and valid e-mail (so I can send you the key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification.

Again, I thank the folks at for making this giveaway possible. A 30-day free trial can be downloaded here, Download Handy Backup. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win an activation key..)

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 5 results will be the winners.

Please have a safe and joyous Holiday.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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May 31, 2010 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, PC, software | , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Software License Giveaway: NOD32 Antivirus 4

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

The folks at Eset have generously donated ten licenses for NOD32 Antivirus 4 to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter”. The contest will end midnight Thursday, May 27, and the winners announced Friday.

eset_logoYou might not have heard of Eset or NOD32, but it has quietly been around, and winning awards, since the early 90’s (the days of DOS). For the last year, I have been using it as my primary anti-malware defense on my principle machine and I have not been disappointed. This Internet security tool passed my every test and I recommend it; and I do so to folks of any skill level.

But you do not have to take my word for it, a very thorough review can be found here. And CNET editor Seth Rosenblatt says,

As far as reputations go, ESET’s NOD32 is practically unimpeachable. Version 4 of the popular and effective antivirus and antispyware builds on that rep, emphasizing its community-sourced ThreatSense for preventing attacks before they occur, a slick interface, and some of the highest independently-tested detection rates married to low rates of false positives. eds_rvw

(..and you can also read “real life” opinions in the comments section [below]..)

NOD32 Features (from the publisher):

  • nod32_antivirus_4 Keeps you safe from viruses, spyware, trojans, password stealers and other malware threats
  • Stops most new threats proactively, well before other vendors have issued a signature, maximizing your defense against new and unknown threats
  • Removable Media Security: Threats can enter your PC from removable media such as USB thumb drives. ESET NOD32 Antivirus scans AUTORUN.INF and associated files when the medium is inserted, in addition to scanning any file on any removable device when it is accessed, or during a full scan of the media.
  • Clean and Safe Email: Email scanning for Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, and other POP3/IMAP mail clients ensures your email is free of viruses and other threats.
  • System Tools: ESET SysInspector™ and ESET SysRescue simplify diagnosing and cleaning of infected systems by allowing deep scans of system processes to find hidden threats, and creating bootable rescue CD/DVD or USB drives to help you repair an infected computer.
  • battery mode: extends laptop battery life without compromising security
  • Advanced Protection Status screen informs you of threat detections
  • Game mode: Information pop-ups are hidden when running full screen applications like games, video players or presentations
  • Password protection prevents ESET NOD32 Antivirus from being uninstalled by strangers
  • New interface and keyboard shortcuts simplify use for visually impaired users
  • System Requirements: Processors Supported: Intel or AMD x86-x64
    Operating Systems: Windows® 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008 and Windows 7.

These licenses were provided by Kimbal Binder, Network Security Manager at Rain Networks. Those of you who are in IT may want to click here and visit the IT Security Resource Center, and learn more about Eset in the enterprise (trial available). Please direct questions to Kimbal at Kimbalb(at)rainnetworks(dot)com.

[note: for those who want a full security suite, Eset has that too. See, http://www.eset.com/home/smart-security for details.]

How to enter? To enter the drawing, simply click on “comment”, and enter a name and valid e-mail (so I can send you the key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but it seems I do — multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)

A 30-day, fully-functional free trial of NOD32 can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!) Again, I thank Kimbal, and the folks at Eset for making this giveaway possible.

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 10 results will be the winners.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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May 24, 2010 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, Internet, PC, security, software | , , , , , , , , | 244 Comments

Contest Concludes In Just A Few Hours…


** A Chance To Win A Valuable Prize! **


The folks at SYNCING.NET have generously donated six Professional Edition licenses to me, to award to my readers. SYNCING.NET is a Business Class program which enables users to sync their Microsoft Outlook data on multiple computers.

To enter the drawing, please see: Software License Giveaway: SYNCING.NET
Enter my current giveaway and (possibly) win a pair of licenses!

Entries must be received before midnight (Pacific) tonight (Thurs. May 20th) so act now.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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May 20, 2010 Posted by | software | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Software License Giveaway: SYNCING.NET

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

The folks at SYNCING.NET have generously donated six Professional Edition licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter”. The contest will end midnight Thursday, and the winners announced Friday.

syncingdotnet logo SYNCING.NET is a Business Class program which enables users to sync their Microsoft Outlook data on multiple computers. Contacts, calendars, notes, tasks, email, and Outlook features will be displayed the same on all your synchronized computers. The program provides secure, encrypted syncing (that doesn’t require a server), offline editing of files, and automatic document or file syncing of designated folders. SYNCING.NET keeps all your data in ‘real-time’ sync, which is automatically maintained.

Publisher’s description:
SYNCING.NET offers powerful Outlook synchronization, backup and file sharing tools for professional and personal use. By providing unique, secure peer-to-peer synchronization with integrated Outlook syncing and comprehensive file sharing, you can access your data anytime and any place. No additional software or expensive server hardware are needed to use our tools. SYNCING.NET gives you a powerful solution that is simple, secure and affordable.

“Syncing without Thinking. We offer the most comprehensive syncing software with the highest security and best value.

  • Real-time, seamless synchronization
  • Automatic, background functionality
  • No server or IT staff needed

Be aware, this software is pricey (it is “enterprise grade”) but if you are a “road warrior” and you’re tied to Outlook, I agree with PC World magazine reviewer Preston Gralla’s summation, “if you need to use Outlook on more than one PC regularly, you’ll find Syncing.net is well worth the price.” (See, Editorial Review of SYNCING.NET Home Edition)

How to enter? To enter the drawing, simply click on “comment”, and enter a name and valid e-mail (so I can send you the keys) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but it seems I do — multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)

Note: Because a license is required for each machine to be synced, I am bundling the six into three prizes of a 2-license ‘pack’ (thus, a winner will be able to sync two machines).

While this contest is for the ultra-deluxe “Pro” Edition (which has some very kewl collaboration features) I believe that the majority of readers of this site will find the Home Edition more appropriate for their needs.
A 30-day, fully-functional free trial of SYNCING.NET can be downloaded here, Free 30-day trial (which includes features of the Business Edition) Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win one of these valuable prizes!) Again, I thank the folks at SYNCING.NET for making this giveaway possible.

¹ All entrants will be placed into Random.org’s “randomizer”, and the top 3 results will be the winners (of two licenses each).

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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May 17, 2010 Posted by | computers, e-mail, mobile, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Last Day For Contest

Folks, my latest software license giveaway drawing ends at midnight.

The good folks at SUPERAntiSpyware have generously donated five Lifetime” licenses to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am having a random drawing contest from folks who “enter”. The contest will close at midnight tonight, May 13th (Pacific) and the winners announced tomorrow (Friday), so act now.

Please see the original announcement, Software License Giveaway Drawing, and find out more details… such as how to enter for a chance at a free license!

May 13, 2010 Posted by | anti-spyware, software | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment