Windows Sandbox is an extremely useful feature for testing software on Windows 11, and here’s how to set it up on your own PC.
Windows Sandbox is a feature that was introduced with Windows 10 version 1903 and has been a standard part of Windows ever since. However, it is only available for the Pro and Enterprise editions, so chances are your PC does not support this feature.
Windows Sandbox uses virtualization technology, the same technology that powers Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs), to create an isolated environment in which you can test software. This can range from downloading potentially dangerous software to testing your own software you are developing that may cause system problems.
Unlike a traditional VM, however, Windows Sandbox does not require you to provide an ISO file, virtual hard drive or other settings. Everything is set up automatically, and the operating system within Windows Sandbox is identical to the operating system you currently use. In fact, it is a clean copy of your operating system, completely isolated from the rest of your files, keeping everything safe. Although it is not as versatile as setting up a VM with custom settings, Windows Sandbox is extremely user-friendly for everyone, which is a big advantage in itself.
What do you need to install Windows Sandbox
Installing Windows Sandbox is very easy, but there are a few things you need to check first. Your PC’s processor must support virtualization and that feature must be enabled in the BIOS. Follow these steps to check this:
- Right-click on the Start menu icon and then select “Task Manager.”
- Go to the “Performance” tab, then click on “Processor.”
When virtualization is enabled, you should see this as shown in the screenshot below. If it is enabled, that means your CPU supports virtualization and is currently enabled in your system’s BIOS. If it is disabled, you need to enable it in the BIOS. You can read how to enable virtualization in the BIOS here: Microsoft support page
If virtualization is not displayed, it means that your CPU does not support virtualization.
How to set up Windows Sandbox
Setting up Windows Sandbox actually incredibly simple. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open the Start menu and click on the Settings icon.
- In the vertical menu, go to Apps and then select Optional Features.
- In the next menu, scroll down and click More Windows Features.
- Find the Windows Sandbox option and check it.
- Click OK, wait a few seconds for the installation to complete, and then click Restart Now.
After the computer reboots, you will find the Sandbox environment in the Start menu next to your other programs. Click it to start a new Windows instance, copy the executables you want to test from the main operating system or download them using the Edge browser from the Sandbox environment.
When you finish testing, you can simply close the Sandbox environment and all your data will be erased.