Windows Sandbox Is A Safe Space to Test Sketchy Programs

Here’s how to do test it out.

The Internet is rife with dangerous malware that try to get into your computer system, which is why we’re safer with increasingly better anti-virus or anti-spyware solutions - but even the most sophisticated defense softwares can let some slip by. This becomes especially apparent when it comes to executable programs - those with the .exe extensions - because running them basically gives them access to your computer.  

Due to this, Windows just introduced the Windows Sandbox. As the name implies, it can offer you a controlled environment for programs that you’re just not sure about. This feature is only available for Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, Insider build 18305 or newer but nevertheless here’s a quick start guide for you:

Quick Start Guide

  1. Enable virtualization:

    • If you are using a physical machine, ensure virtualization capabilities are enabled in the BIOS.

    • If you are using a virtual machine, enable nested virtualization with this PowerShell cmdlet:

    • Set-VMProcessor -VMName <VMName> -ExposeVirtualizationExtensions $true

  2. Open Windows Features, and then select Windows Sandbox. Select OK to install Windows Sandbox. You might be asked to restart the computer.

3. Using the Start menu, find Windows Sandbox, run it and allow the elevation

4. Copy an executable file from the host

5. Paste the executable file in the window of Windows Sandbox (on the Windows desktop)

6. Run the executable in the Windows Sandbox; if it is an installer go ahead and install it

7. Run the application and use it as you normally do

8. When you’re done experimenting, you can simply close the Windows Sandbox application. All sandbox content will be discarded and permanently deleted

9. Confirm that the host does not have any of the modifications that you made in Windows Sandbox.

This feature is obviously for more advanced users but for anyone else who wants to try it out, make sure you still have some form of defense software and to make system backups.