Diving into the expansive world of features that Windows offers, one particularly intriguing tool stands out: the Windows Sandbox. Incorporated since version 1903 (build 18305) in Windows 11/10 Pro and Enterprise editions, this tool, unfortunately, doesn’t come bundled in the Home Edition. However, its significance cannot be understated. Windows Sandbox provides a lightweight, dedicated desktop environment, allowing users to run applications in a secure, isolated setting. This means that you can test or run unfamiliar applications without risking the integrity or safety of your primary Windows environment. So, for users of the Windows 11/10 Home Edition keen on leveraging this tool, the question arises: how can one enable this valuable feature? Dive in as we explore the steps to unlock the Windows Sandbox feature for your Windows 11/10 Home Edition.
What is the use of Windows Sandbox?
Windows Sandbox is a remarkable feature tailored for users who often tread cautiously when venturing into the realm of unfamiliar applications, especially those sourced from less-than-reputable websites. The primary concern in such scenarios is the potential risk these applications pose to the system’s integrity and security. Windows Sandbox comes to the rescue by providing an isolated environment, distinct from your primary Windows 11/10 setup. This means that any application run within the confines of the Sandbox remains isolated, ensuring that any potential harm doesn’t spill over to your actual Windows system.
The brilliance of Windows Sandbox lies in its transient nature. Every software, along with its associated files and states, gets confined strictly within the Sandbox. Upon shutting down the Sandbox, all these entities are wiped out—leaving no traces or remnants on your host system. This gives users the confidence to experiment, test, and run software without any lingering worries about permanent impacts or changes to their primary environment.
Diving a bit deeper into its mechanics, Windows Sandbox, upon activation, creates a read-only, 8 GB system partition named PortableBaseLayer. Notably, this partition doesn’t bear a drive letter, ensuring it remains discreet. Serving its purpose during the active session of the Sandbox, this partition gets promptly deleted once the Sandbox is deactivated. This meticulous design reinforces the feature’s commitment to maintaining a clean slate, free of any residues, post every Sandbox session.
For Windows Sandbox to operate seamlessly on your system, it’s essential to meet certain requirements. Here’s a comprehensive list of prerequisites:-
- Windows Version: Ensure you’re running Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Education edition of version 1903 (build 18305) or later. Windows Sandbox isn’t available on Windows 10 Home Edition by default.
- Hardware Virtualization: Your system must have a processor that supports hardware virtualization, with virtualization capabilities enabled in the BIOS/UEFI settings.
- 64-bit Architecture: Windows Sandbox requires a 64-bit version of Windows 10.
- Minimum Processor Cores: At least two CPU cores, though a quad-core (or higher) is recommended for optimal performance.
- Memory: A minimum of 4 GB RAM is required. However, 8 GB or more is recommended for better performance.
- Storage: At least 1 GB of free disk space, though it’s advisable to have more for storing applications and data within the Sandbox environment.
- Windows Features: Ensure the “Hyper-V” and “Windows Sandbox” features are enabled. You can turn them on through the “Turn Windows features on or off” option in the Control Panel.
- Graphics: While Windows Sandbox can run with an integrated GPU, a dedicated GPU is recommended for improved performance, especially if running graphics-intensive applications.
- WDAG (Windows Defender Application Guard): It’s beneficial to have this feature, which uses similar technologies as the Sandbox, although it’s not strictly necessary.
By ensuring your system aligns with these requirements, you can leverage Windows Sandbox to its fullest potential, enjoying a safe environment to test and run unfamiliar applications.
How to Enable Windows Sandbox Feature in Windows 11/10 Home Edition?
Follow these steps to turn on to Windows Sandbox feature in Windows 11/10 Home Edition:-
Step 1: Access the Run dialog box.
To access the Run command box, press the Windows logo key and R.
Step 2: To open the Notepad software, enter the following into the Run box and press Enter on the keyboard: –
Step 3: Copy and paste the lines below into the Notepad document:-
@echo off echo Checking for permissions >nul 2>&1 "%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\cacls.exe" "%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\config\system" echo Permission check result: %errorlevel% REM --> If error flag set, we do not have admin. if '%errorlevel%' NEQ '0' ( echo Requesting administrative privileges... goto UACPrompt ) else ( goto gotAdmin ) :UACPrompt echo Set UAC = CreateObject^("Shell.Application"^) > "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" echo UAC.ShellExecute "%~s0", "", "", "runas", 1 >> "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" echo Running created temporary "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" timeout /T 2 "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" exit /B :gotAdmin if exist "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" ( del "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" ) pushd "%CD%" CD /D "%~dp0" echo Batch was successfully started with admin privileges echo . cls Title Sandbox Installer pushd "%~dp0" dir /b %SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\*Containers*.mum >sandbox.txt for /f %%i in ('findstr /i . sandbox.txt 2^>nul') do dism /online /norestart /add-package:"%SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\%%i" del sandbox.txt Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:Containers-DisposableClientVM /LimitAccess /ALL pause
Step 4: Now, select Save As from the File menu by clicking on it.
Step 5: Type “File name” as sandbox.bat in the Save As dialogue box. Choose All Files from the Save as type drop-down menu. Finally, click on the Save button.
Step 6: A sandbox.bat document will be created once you complete all the above steps. Choose Run as administrator from the drop-down menu when you right-click on the batch file that is just created.
Step 7: The Windows Sandbox feature will now be installed on the Windows 11/10 Home of your computer via a command line window. To restart the computer, enter Y and then click on Enter.
You can now enable and disable Windows Sandbox once your machine has finished rebooting. Click on the Start button and type “Sandbox” to open the Windows Sandbox. Now, select Windows Sandbox from the search results.
How to uninstall the Windows Sandbox feature using Command Prompt?
Use the following steps to uninstall the Windows Sandbox feature with the help of Command Prompt:-
Step 1: First, open an elevated Command Prompt.
Step 2: Type the following in the administrative Command Prompt and then press Enter:-
Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:"Containers-DisposableClientVM"
After you complete the above steps, you will be able to remove Windows Sandbox from your computer.
In an ever-evolving digital world where experimenting with software and applications is the norm, ensuring your primary system’s safety is paramount. The Windows Sandbox, an ingenious feature offered by Windows, acts as a safeguard. It’s a unique environment where users can fearlessly run and test unfamiliar applications, knowing that their main Windows 11/10 system remains untouched. Think of it as a digital playground, an isolated bubble, where any action—be it an installation or configuration—remains strictly within and gets wiped clean after each session. This article illuminated not just the value of the Windows Sandbox feature but also elucidated the steps to activate it in the Windows 11/10 Home Edition, which doesn’t offer it by default. The provided guide offers a comprehensive view, from understanding the significance of the feature, grasping its mechanics, to the nuts and bolts of its installation. By aligning with the system prerequisites and following the steps, users can unlock a powerful tool to elevate their computing experience, ensuring both experimentation and safety go hand in hand.