Using Windows 10 Sandbox Feature

December 14, 2023

[avatar user="Jamie Poindexter" size="thumbnail" align="left" link="attachment" /]by Jamie Poindexter | Aug 2, 2020 | Jamie's Tech Corner, Our blogIntroduced in Windows 10 build 18305 Windows Sandbox is a little advertised feature that gives users of Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise the ability to boot a lightweight virtual desktop that is isolated from the main operating system. Useful to test out questionable programs or websites when its booted up each time its clean Windows and nothing you do in the sandbox persists each time you use it. In the event the sandbox is corrupted by a program or infected with a virus you simply power the virtual desktop down and the host operating system is unaffected.To enable make sure you are on the latest build of Windows 10. As mentioned before build 18305 is the oldest supported version. For some users you will have to enable virtualization in the BIOS of the host computer. This is normally done by pressing a hotkey (del or F2) when you turn the PC on. Also, this feature is not available for Windows 10 home users. To get started press Winkey + R and type “appwiz.cpl” then hit enter

On the left side of the programs and features window that appears click on “Turn Windows features on or off”

Scroll the bottom and place a check box next to “Windows Sandbox” and click ok

Windows will then take a couple minutes to install the feature and a reboot will be requested.

After the PC boots back up we are ready to run the sandbox, click on start and type in sandbox and hit enter.The splash screen will appear, give it some time to build the sandbox and boot up for the first time.

Once its done this is what you will see

From here you are good to go, you can use the sandbox as another computer to run software, websites completely separated from the computer you are running it on. Be aware though as soon as you close it you will loose anything you did so if you need to save something make sure to copy it from the sandbox to your computer. Copy and paste does work so you can easily copy things back and forth as well.Here are some examples on what Windows Sandbox is useful for:

  • You are a developer or IT and need to test an application before deploying it to other users
  • You are responsible for updating an application but want to make sure its compatible with a new windows update
  • You received a suspicious email with an attachment you think might be a virus and don’t want to compromise the system (password stealing is still a factor here so make sure not to enter any sensitive data)