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I have a friend that constantly keeps having viruses on his computer. The main problem is that he's using Windows with 2-3 antiviruses but he keeps opening unverified Powerpoint files and binaries under Windows.

I think the alternative would be to install Ubuntu on that computer and to install IE and MS Office in Wine.

I want to ask what are my chances of succesfuly achieving this considering that Wine support is limited.

I also want to ask if Wine is in any way a sandbox in terms of security. I haven't fiddled much with it, normally if I want to run Windows programs I just fire up a Virtualbox but I can't ask of my friend to do that since he's a basic user.

Also has anyone tried sandboxie ? Is it effective ? Does it actually deliver what it promises ?

If anyone tried this before I'd appreciate some feedback on this.

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Multiple real–time virus scanners are never a good idea. Install a single good AV (such as MSE, which is free), keep it updated and use other on–demand scanners as required. I don't think you're going to have any luck with Wine, but if you're gonna install Linux anyway, why bother with IE and Office when there are perfectly decent free alternatives available? –  Karan Feb 1 '13 at 5:33
    
because the freely available alternatives are not fully compatible in terms of parsing/rendering proprietary file formats. –  average Feb 1 '13 at 9:20
    
I've heard good things about sandboxie, but never tried it myself. It's probably a better solution than trying to run WINE as a security provider. –  Marcus Chan Feb 3 '13 at 7:21
    
Honestly, your friend doesn't sound like he is technically savvy enough to a) use an (even preconfigured) WINE setup without confusion problems, and b) need it at all. If his primary tasks are office apps and web browsing, and he keeps getting viruses, he'd probably do just fine with a native Ubuntu/LibreOffice install. LibreOffice has decent interoperability with PowerPoint etc. If he absolutely needs MS Office, well, there's the web-based version now that you can pay for. You could also get him a mac/hackintosh and run Office on that. –  Zac B Feb 3 '13 at 19:25
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If you need ActiveX (and tbh if you do, you might want to change that) - then Windows is really your only option, and I think a sandbox is a more realistic way to secure that than trying to virtualize anything –  Marcus Chan Feb 4 '13 at 9:57
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I use Sandboxie and it seems to deliver what it promises : running in a discardable sandbox, which is a sort of a shadow version of the hard disk.

As far as running IE it should be fine, but for running Office your friend might get in difficulties with the fact that documents written by sandboxed programs will by default be written to the sandbox.

Sandboxie does ask whether to write document files to their real directory, and when clearing-out the contents of the sandbox it does offer a list of the files that it offers to salvage by copying to the real folder.

Sandboxie can also have exceptions configured for folders and file-types, so you can configure it properly for your friend. More than one sandbox can be created, with different permissions for each. Desktop shortcuts that sandbox installed programs are also possibile.

Its free version seems good enough, although with some limitations and some small annoyances like a nag-screen.

I have never tried to see if Sandboxie can resist against a determined virus, although they do advertise themselves in that way.

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If you want to go the Linux route, the easiest way to run Office and IE is a program called PlayOnLinux.


PlayOnLinux is a front-end for Wine and Winetricks, but its main offering is pre-made scripts to install common programs. It's not limited to games, either - just pop in your Office disc and click through the simple menu trees to install. Scripts are included for all versions of Microsoft Office and IE as well as lots of other software. It's already in the Ubuntu repositories, so you can add it with a simple sudo apt-get playonlinux.

If you're running a Windows program in Wine, the chances that the Linux computer hosting will be infected are practically nil. At worst, you would have to delete the Office or IE virtual drive and re-install (incredibly easy with POL).

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