Windows 10 Sandbox – How to enable and use as a test environment

Before we go ahead, let me explain what is SANDBOX?

                               A sandbox is an isolated testing environment wherein we can test untrusted codes(scripts) and software before we apply them in a production environment.

How it relates to Windows 10?

Ok, so in windows 10 (OS Build 18362.295 onwards) Microsoft introduced this concept as a feature.

It is a new lightweight desktop environment meant for safely running applications in isolation.

There are situations where you have downloaded a 3rd application or a script and you want to run on your system but we afraid of negative consequences. If went wrong then you may need to reinstall the operating system. That’s horrible!

But now we have the option to test. So, let’s see how we can enable the sandbox feature and use it.

Pre-Requisites prior to installation

1. Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise build 18305 or later

2. x64 architecture

3. Virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS

4. At least 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)

5. At least 1 GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)

6. At least 2 CPU cores (4 cores with hyperthreading recommended)

How to enable sandbox in Windows 10?

Go to RUN and type appwiz.cpl & hit Enter

You will get below screen. Click ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ (refer yellow highlight)

On below screen, go down and select “Windows Sandbox” and click OK. Now it will ask for a reboot.

Click yes/OK to reboot.

Now go to start and search sandbox. You will get below screen and click Windows Sandbox

After you click, wait a few minutes. Your sandbox environment will be created as below.

Basically, this is a virtual machine having clean Operating system inside your parent OS.

And if you check in program & features, there is nothing.

This is cool! Isn’t it?

Now let’s test/install a 3rd party software named as ActivePresent.exe in sandbox virtual machine (VM).

Note: You can directly copy and paste in sandbox VM’s desktop.

Let’s install….

Now it can be seen in control panel –> program & features of sandbox virtual machine.

However, it will not get installed in your parent OS. This is what sandbox feature is meant for.

After you complete your tests/checks, just close the sandbox windows and all your current sandbox configuration will be deleted.

When you start the sandbox again you will again get a fresh tiny virtual machine.

When you click to close the sandbox windows, you will get below message/pop up.

Let’s summarize the sandbox features

Windows Sandbox has the following properties:

Part of Windows – everything required for this feature ships with Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. No external download required

Flawless– every time Windows Sandbox runs, it’s as clean as a brand-new installation of Windows

Disposable – nothing persists on the device; everything is discarded after you close the application

Secure – uses hardware-based virtualization for kernel isolation, which relies on the Microsoft’s hypervisor to run a separate kernel which isolates Windows Sandbox from the host

Efficient – uses integrated kernel scheduler, smart memory management, and virtual GPU

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