Whether it’s a new image editing software you found on the Internet or somebody has shared it via flash drive, running executable files has always been risky. Testing these kind of untrusted software in a clean system requires virtual machine (VM) software, an example of such software is VirtualBox.
VM is great for testing a new software application but it is hard to use too. Other pitfalls of using virtual machine are like, you need a valid Windows 10 license to run on the virtualized OS. Secondly, running a virtual machine at decent performance requires reasonably powerful hardware and lots of storage space.
Fortunately, Microsoft’s Windows 10 (v.1903) solves all of these problems at once by a new feature called “Windows Sandbox”.
In this tutorial you will learn what is Windows Sandbox, how to enable it and finally how to use it in a step by step method.
Outline of this post:
- What is Windows Sandbox?
- Minimum system requirements for Windows Sandbox in Windows 10
- Turn on Windows Sandbox in Windows 10
- Use Windows Sandbox in Windows 10
What is Windows Sandbox in Windows 10?
Windows Sandbox is a new feature introduced by Microsoft for Windows 10 (v.1903), which lets you install and run any suspicious software in the sandbox mode without affecting the host PC.
In short, Windows Sandbox is half app, half virtual machine. When you close the sandbox, any programs you installed or files you created will be discarded and permanently deleted. Which means that every time you start the feature, you will start with a clean install of Windows 10.
Minimum system requirements for Windows Sandbox in Windows 10
In order to use Windows Sandbox, your system must support the following requirements:
- Virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS
- At least 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
- At least 1 GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
- Windows 10 (Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions) version 1903 or later
- Requires a 64-bit processor with at least two cores, but quad-core CPU device with multi-threading is recommended
– Source: Microsoft
How to turn on Windows Sandbox in Windows 10
By default, the Windows Sandbox feature is turned off and you can enable the feature using these step by step instructions.
Step 1: You need to make sure virtualization is enabled in your system’s BIOS. To cross check, type CTRL + SHIFT + Esc keyboard shortcut to open Windows Task Manager.
Go to Performance Tab, Make sure the CPU category is selected on the left and on the right, just make sure it says Virtualization: Enabled.
Step 2: Open Search and type “Turn Windows features on or off “ and select the result.
Step 3: In the Windows Features, check the “Windows Sandbox” option and click “OK”.
Step 4: Click the “Restart now” button to finish installation of Windows Sandbox.
How to use Windows Sandbox in Windows 10
In our previous section we have successfully installed Windows Sandbox. In this section your are going to take a sample app like VLC media player and try installing under Windows Sandbox environment.
Following steps demonstrate how you can use Windows Sandbox in Windows 10.
Step 1: The next time you sign into Windows 10, Open Search and type “sandbox” where you can launch Windows Sandbox mode as an administrator.
Step 2: You should then see a near replica of your current Windows 10 desktop with minimal apps installed by default. Then copy VLC media player from host computer and paste it inside the Windows Sandbox environment.
Step 3: It’s time to hit the ground and install our test application (VLC media player) under Windows Sandbox environment for experiment.
After successful installation, you can play around with your test application. If you trust this application under Windows Sandbox environment then you can go ahead and repeat the same process of installation under your host PC.
Step 4: Closing Windows Sandbox environment is easy. Click on the close (X) button at top right corner then it ask you for conformation. Select “OK” button.
Once it is closed, everything is permanently deleted.
Windows Sandbox once started, it will appear as a new installation of Windows 10 running within a Window like an application. You can open, download and run any files or programs in sandbox and no changes will be made to the actual system.
Impressively, It runs well on minimal hardware. At the beginning you might feel Windows Sandbox run noticeable slow, but after a few minutes, it runs smooth without any constraints.
The same performance you will receive while closing and reopening the app too. Once it is closed, everything is permanently deleted. The next time you lunch Windows Sandbox, you will find it back to a clean slate, and you can begin testing again.