The May 2019 update for Windows 10 (build 1903) includes an intriguing new feature. It can improve the safety of a variety of common tasks, even though it is aimed at more experienced users. It’s called Windows Sandbox, and it allows you to create a separate Windows environment from your main machine in seconds. When you leave the session, the environment is thrown away.
How (and why) to use Windows Sandbox
Sandbox finally fixes one of Windows’s most vexing problems: software installations are opaque and can completely destroy your system in an instant. Sandbox allows you to test different software or procedures in a disposable environment before applying them to your actual desktop.
If you want to install software but are unsure about its authenticity, a sandbox could be useful. You can try it out, inspect the changes to the environment, and then decide whether to install it on your real desktop by first installing it in Sandbox. Sandbox is also useful for experimenting with different Windows settings without actually applying them or risking unintended consequences.
Enabling Windows Sandbox
The sandbox is an optional feature that must be turned on manually. To begin, go to the Start menu and look for the “Turn Windows features on or off” panel. In the list that appears, look for Windows Sandbox. To install the feature, check its checkbox and then press “OK.”
You’ll have to wait while Windows updates your system with the necessary files. After that, you’ll be prompted to restart your computer – this is required before Sandbox can be used!
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Entering the Sandbox
Sandbox is now ready and waiting in the Start menu after a reboot. To open it, scroll down the apps list or search for its name like any other app.
Similar to a virtual or remote machine connection, the Sandbox window will appear on your desktop. While the Sandbox environment starts up, the screen may appear black for a few seconds. You’ll soon be presented with a blank Windows desktop, which you can mess around with and possibly ruin.
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You won’t find any of your existing apps or programs installed in Sandbox because it is completely separate from your main Windows desktop. Sandbox is also unable to access your files because Windows creates a new virtual hard drive for the environment.
You’re effectively using a brand-new Windows machine, albeit one that was up and running in a matter of seconds. Virtualization and your existing Windows kernel work together to create the magic. Sandbox can inherit from your actual Windows installation with this model, ensuring that it is always up to date with the version on your machine.
Sandbox can be used for as long as you want. Most Windows features will work normally, whether you’re installing programs, changing settings, or simply browsing the web. Just keep in mind that once the session is over, the environment will be lost forever. You’ll be back to a clean slate the next time you launch Sandbox, ready to launch, use, and then discard, with all the changes forgotten.
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