Usually, if you can test suspicious files and software on a virtual machine, creating a full virtual machine takes time and resources. Setting up a Windows sandbox in Windows 11 allows you to test suspicious files and house arrest directly in the Windows sandbox without creating a VM in Hyper-V. This article will walk you through the steps to set up Windows Sandbox on Windows 11.
Note: Only Windows 11 Pro, Education, or Enterprise editions can set up the Windows Sandbox feature, and you also need to make sure that virtualization is enabled.
How to Set Up Sandbox on Windows 11?
Before setting up Windows Sandbox on Windows 11, you need to enable the Windows Sandbox feature first. follow the steps below to enable Windows Sandbox on Windows 11.
1 Open the Run dialog by pressing Windows key + R keys.
2 Then, type optionalfeatures.exe in the text field and press Enter.
3 Check the Windows Sandbox option on Windows Features menu appears and click OK.
4 To complete the installation process, a Windows 11 restart is required – click the Restart now button when prompted.
Use Windows Sandbox on Windows 11
When sandboxing is enabled on Windows 11, it creates a copy of the Windows 11 installation in a virtual environment. However, it removes access to personal folders, giving you a clean Windows desktop with internet access. Follow these steps to use Windows Sandbox on Windows 11:
1 Press the Windows key or click the Start button to launch the Start menu.
2 Next, click All Apps, then click W to find apps by first letter.
3 Select Windows Sandbox from the Start menu.
4 If the UAC message appears, click Yes.
5 Windows Sandbox will start, displaying a lightweight and secure version of Windows 11. It looks like you have a virtual machine with Windows 11 installed, but without the hassle of setting up an actual virtual machine.
6 Next, run the installer or executable you want to test in the protected environment.
7 Switch to Windows Sandbox and paste the file. It’s important to note that you can also download files directly from the Internet using the Edge browser included in Sandbox.
8 Run the executable file until the file is installed or loaded.
9 After reviewing and testing the application, close the sandbox window. The session will stop and delete any extra data, so you will start over every time you use it.
10 Click the OK button on the pop-up verification message to exit.
How to Disable Windows Sandbox?
If you no longer need or want to install or use Windows Sandbox on your Windows 11 machine, then you can choose to disable Windows Sandbox. Follow the steps below to disable Windows Sandbox:
Launch the Run dialog by pressing Windows key + R keys.
Type optionalfeatures.exe and click OK.
Uncheck Windows Sandbox on Windows Features menu appears and click OK.
Click the Restart Now button.
After the system restarts, log in, and Windows Sandbox will no longer be an option in the Start menu.
If you want to re-enable it in the future, follow the steps above to re-enable Windows Sandbox.
Using Sandbox on Windows 11
After enabling the Windows Sandbox on Windows 11, you can test apps or files now. If a file is infected with malware, you can simply close Sandbox—the file will be deleted and your PC will remain safe.