How to use Sandbox mode on Windows 11

How to use Sandbox mode on Windows 11

One of the novelties of Windows 11, compared to previous versions, is Windows Sandbox: a practical mode that allows you to take advantage of a lightweight virtualization environment to install and test unknown and potentially untrusted apps, without running the risk to cause possible damage to the system. The feature makes use of an image of the OS version installed on your PC to replicate the same exact conditions, but in a highly optimized environment, both in terms of security and privacy, and weighing only 100MB.

This therefore offers several advantages over third-party virtualization software, which in addition to usually being paid for, requires an initial configuration to work properly. Microsoft's built-in sandbox also allows you to start with a clean install of Windows 11 every time you start it, deleting all data after you close it. In this guide, we will list all the steps necessary to start a virtual session and use the function.

Windows 11: how to use Sandbox mode

The only requirement to be able to use Sandbox mode on Windows 11 is enabling hardware virtualization features from the motherboard BIOS. The feature requires a CPU with at least two cores, 4GB of disk space, and preferably the use of an SSD.

Enable virtualization from UEFI

To access the UEFI BIOS settings of the motherboard, open the Windows 11 settings; From here, click on "System" , then on the "Restore" item in the list that appears; Select "Recovery options" and then "Restart now" next to the "Advanced recovery" item; Upon restart, the PC will show a screen with various options, choose "Advanced options", then "UEFI firmware settings"; Choose “Restart” to enter BIOS, searching for and activating the hardware virtualization function; Since the interface is different for each manufacturer, it is advisable to consult the manual of the motherboard; Once the feature is found and activated, save the settings and restart the system.

Enable Sandbox mode on Windows 11

Open the Windows 11 settings again; Go to the "App" section and select the "Optional features" item; In the “Related settings” section choose “More Windows features” ;

A window will open with a list of features, look for "Windows Sandbox" and put the check in the relevant box to activate it, then click on "Ok"; Select "Restart now" in the message that appears. Once your PC has restarted, you will immediately be able to start using the virtual environment of the Windows 11 Sandbox mode.

How to start a virtualization session with the Windows 11 Sandbox mode

Starting a virtual session is immediate, to do so you will have to:

Click on Start and search for “Windows Sandbox” , selecting “Run as administrator” ; To try to run and test software, copy the installation file to the virtual desktop; Alternatively, it is possible to download the applications directly from the Sandbox, both through the Microsoft Store and Microsoft Edge; Install the software by running the setup file to run all the necessary tests. In this way it is possible to install any program, or perform other activities, without affecting the main installation of the operating system. To exit full screen mode you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Pause/Break . At the end of the session, just close the Sandbox window normally to delete all the data and the instance itself.