Windows 10 Sandbox Mode is one of the most useful hidden features which extremely useful to keep your main system away from malicious files or programs. This feature is enabled by windows virtualization technology and allows the users to create a virtual environment to test any kind of activity that can be harmful to your main system if you run or open them directly but in windows sandbox, it’s completely harmless to test. Support from any kind of third-party program is not needed because almost everything is ready by default and users just need to enable and use it.
Before talking about Windows Sandbox, For those who don’t know what is a virtual machine or a virtual environment, it’s a computer that gets created and stored inside a computer but in virtual machines, there’s is no extra physical components but when creating one, it shares RAM, memory, CPU Cores and any other needy configurations from the main system. The computer treats these virtual machines as a separate system and mostly used to practice and be familiar with different operating systems, develop and test applications, etc.
Normally to create a virtual machine inside your computer, having third-party software is a must before Windows Sandbox mode was introduced with Windows 10 distributions. VMware, Virtual Box are some of the most popular virtualization programs currently available for those who interested in creating a virtual machine. As same as a typical virtualization program, it’s essential to have some powerful hardware to run this without any slowdowns in both the sandbox and main system. There are some missing features in Windows Sandbox which you’ll notice if you use one of the third-party software.
Windows Sandbox Mode doesn’t allow users to boot only Windows 10 in the virtual environment while other third-party applications let users install any operating system they want. The biggest missing feature is non of the things and actions you perform inside this virtual environment isn’t persistent and things are going to reset when you close the application. After knowing the basics, now let’s see how you can enable and start working in Windows Sandbox.
Here are the steps you need to go when enabling the Windows 10 Sandbox Mode
Step 1: Check Windows Version
To run Windows Sandbox on your computer you need to have Windows Professional or Enterprise Edition running on your computer. If you a Home Edition user, you can upgrade by paying some extra cash and more features are included in the Pro or Enterprise editions. Also, read the full comparison of Windows 10 Home vs Pro and decide whether to buy it or not.
Step 2: System Requirements
In virtualization, the virtual machines uses some amount of RAM, CPU Cores and any other required hardware configurations from the main system. For Windows Sandbox you are going to need
- CPU with virtualization Enabled
- AMD64 architecture
- 2 CPU Cores minimum(4 Cores with hyperthreading Recommended)
- 4GB RAM(8GB Recommended)
- 1GB of HDD Space(SSD is recommended)
To check whether the virtualization is enabled on your computer, type systeminfo.exe command in CMD or open task manager and click on Performance and then you can check either the virtualization is enabled or disabled on your computer. If it’s disabled, simply enable it from the BIOS menu.
Step 3: Turn on Windows Sandbox Feature
After fulfilling all the requirements, search “Turn Windows features On or Off” and from the pop-up window, scroll down till you find the Windows Sandbox option and then put a tick in the box and save the settings by clicking OK. Then the system will automatically download some files from the internet which are required to launch the sandbox mode. And the system requests to restart to complete the installation.
Step 4: Open Windows Sandbox Mode
After the download, go to start menu search bar and search for Windows Sandbox and open it. Within few seconds the new virtual machine will be displayed on your screen.
Is it 100% Safe to Test Anything?
No, it isn’t a 100% safe environment. But instead of plugging in or installing directly to your main system, it’s safer to test them here before that. If something goes wrong or if there’s any threat, most of the time it only stays in the space allocated for the virtual environment without spreading into the whole computer. If it’s malware, it will only affect and corrupts your data in that particular space unless you are moving infected files back to your main system. Always make a one-way connection between the virtual computer and the main system to move files to the sandbox but not to get them back from virtual space.
In Conclusion, Windows Sandbox or Windows Sandbox Mode is a feature that comes with Windows 10 and available for Pro and Enterprise edition allowing users to create a safe environment to test files without damaging the main system. But nothing is 100% safe because the technology developing every day and there can be gap holes for dangerous files to creep into the main system. Keep your virus guards up to date and never use programs from an untrusted source or people until you make sure it’s safe to use