Microsoft added Windows Sandbox to Windows 10 back in 2019. Now, the company is offering an upgrade that boosts the performance and reliability of the feature.
Added through the May 2019 Cumulative Feature Update, the feature isolates suspicious files and applications into a virtual container. Microsoft is now updating the feature with performance improvements.
Windows Sandbox updated and will now run according to custom requirements:
Several experienced Windows 10 OS users often rely on a virtual test machine to test unreliable software. However, it is the average user who is concerned about downloading a suspicious file.
Understanding the ever-increasing security risks, Microsoft developed and deployed Windows Sandbox for Windows 10 OS. Added to Windows 10 with May 2019, the feature essentially allows users to create a temporary desktop environment to run untrusted software and browse suspicious websites.
Windows Sandbox creates a temporary, virtual, and isolated session of Windows 10. This means any changes that potentially take place during its functioning cannot affect the computer it is running on.
— BleepingComputer (@BleepinComputer) March 24, 2021
Any software installed while running the feature stays in the sandbox. Once users close the same, it deletes all the software and files.
It is like a simple, temporary session and the slate is wiped clean upon the termination of the platform. Hence users who install apps from untrusted sources regularly, find Windows Sandbox very useful.
New build for #WindowsInsiders in the Dev Channel. Some new icons and improvements for Windows Sandbox. Please READ the blog post as it has important known issues to be aware of, for gaming and File Explorer. https://t.co/x1DZ65Yb2e pic.twitter.com/JBGfZWhlHs
— Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) March 24, 2021
With the latest update, Microsoft has tweaked the feature. Previously, the host computer would determine container runtime.
However, with the new update, Microsoft is introducing a new runtime. The company designed and optimized the new runtime for different or custom container scenarios.
The new iteration of Windows Sandbox is reportedly lightweight and allows faster launch times. Additionally, Microsoft has integrated features such as “integrated scheduler” within the operating system.
How to activate the Sandbox feature?
The new changes make Windows Sandbox very versatile and hardware-friendly. Simply put, apart from powerful desktops, the platform should now run even on lightly configured devices such as laptops.
The new iteration is currently available only to Windows 10 Insider Program participants. Microsoft has included the same in Build 21343 of Windows 10.
"Starting with Build 21343, we are introducing a new runtime that is designed and optimized for container scenarios. It is lightweight and allows faster launch times for both Windows Sandbox and Microsoft Defender Application Guard." https://t.co/HxOA6BhSyF
— DWIZZZLE (@dwizzzleMSFT) March 24, 2021
Incidentally, the feature is available only to Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise edition users. The platform relies on Windows Container technology.
The feature might remain off by default, but users can activate the same. To use the feature, head over to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features >Turn Windows features on or off. Scroll down to ‘Windows Sandbox’ and tick the box and click OK.
Haven’t enabled Windows Sandbox yet? Why not?
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName "Containers-DisposableClientVM" -All -Online
You get immediate access to a clean, disposable VM that uses MINIMAL memory, works inside a VM, and requires zero cleanup. #infosec
— Jon Gorenflo ✹ 🏴☠️🛡 (@flakpaket) March 18, 2021
Users will also need to activate the Hyper-V feature. The method is the same above, except, search for and tick the box for Hyper-V.
To run Windows Sandbox, search for the same from Start Menu. This should open another window with a new Windows session that is isolated from the host. It is important to note that users may need to activate Hyper-V from the BIOS of their computer.