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Home / Tips and Tricks / Windows Sandbox: Use Microsoft & # 39; s simple virtual Windows PC to secure your digital life

Windows Sandbox: Use Microsoft & # 39; s simple virtual Windows PC to secure your digital life



Microsoft may position its easy-peasy Windows Sandbox within the Windows 10 May 2019 Update as a safe zone for testing untrusted applications, but it is much more than that. Windows Sandbox, and sandboxing PC apps in general, offer you a solution for trying a "tool" that may be malware, or a website that you are unsure of. You can leave those potentially dangerous elements alone, but with Sandbox you can be a little more adventurous.

Windows Sandbox creates a secure virtual Windows environment with Windows completely from scratch and shuts it off your & # 39; real & # 39; PC. You can open a browser and surf safely, download apps and even visit websites that you probably should not visit. Sandbox also offers a unique convenience: you can copy files to and from the virtual PC and remove them from quarantine if you are absolutely certain that they are safe.

You can close Windows Sandbox at any time and when you do that, everything that is left is completely erased. If that unreliable website malware rains on your Sandbox, just one click is enough to close it, without damaging your actual Windows installation. The next time you start a new version of Sandbox, a new version of Windows 1

0 will be started to restart.

You also do not need to purchase a second copy of Windows to use the feature – although you need Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. The Home version does not support this.

This is all you need to know to use Windows Sandbox.

Getting Started with Windows Sandbox

  Microsoft Windows Sandbox Big Box Mark Hachman / iDG

Windows Sandbox looks in a window from Windows – because it is so. It is just another Windows desktop with firewall from your primary installation.

Technically, Windows Sandbox is a lightweight virtual machine, a tool often used by developers and researchers to test new software in a controlled environment. Virtualization creates a complete virtual computer, complete with operating system, storage and memory, within your existing Windows PC.

Admittedly, Windows already offers Hyper-V to accomplish similar tasks. What makes Sandbox so attractive is that Sandbox for Hyper-V is like Windows 10 & # 39; s Mail app for Outlook: a simplified, user-friendly version of a much more complex application.

  External connection to Microsoft Windows Sandbox Mark Hachman / IDG

When you open Windows Sandbox as a full screen, you will see some extra icons. Clicking on the signal bar in cellular style gives this message, partly because the "external" Windows you connect to is not remote at all.

In addition to the requirement for Windows 10 Pro, the performance impact of Windows Sandbox requires a modern, fairly powerful machine with virtualization capabilities. Here are the minimum specifications for the function:

Windows Sandbox does not anonymize your view – your internet provider will in theory still keep track of which sites you have visited, unless you also use a VPN, but when you destroy the Sandbox, that browse record disappears completely. And if you download something that you are not sure about, you can always test it in Sandbox to help determine if it is actually malicious.

  windows sandbox bittorrent ubuntu Mark Hachman / IDG

BitTorrent worked great. You never know what exactly you are downloading, which is why Sandbox might be a good idea.

Strangely enough, Windows Defender does not seem to work within Sandbox, but I downloaded a free third-party antivirus from BitDefender and could check individual files for malware.

As we have noted above, Sandbox requires a price in terms of performance. Running on a first-generation Surface Laptop (with a Core i5-7200U Kaby Lake chip that feeds it), only three media-rich Edge tabs in Sandbox have swallowed up enough resources to keep total CPU usage well above 90 percent. I occasionally saw a little stuttering when moving a webpage. With a more robust Surface Pro (2017) and a few code revisions later, Windows Sandbox ran much smoother.

Do not think that you will play games within Sandbox. But open an e-mail via Outlook.com? Sure. Download what I thought was a Linux distribution about uTorrent? That worked great. (However, trying to mount the ISO file in Sandbox.)

  windows sandbox signin Mark Hachman / IDG

You do not see any personalization options by default. It is probably a good idea to leave your personal information out of a Sandbox unless necessary.

How far you include Sandbox in your daily life is up to you. We have already seen Sandbox videos & # 39; s demonstrating the effects of computer viruses, because when they are done damaging the virtual Sandbox machine, the Sandbox can be closed. (We would still not recommend this with known dangers because we cannot say with certainty that malware cannot break out of the virtual Sandbox machine.) Nevertheless, Sandbox offers much more than app testing.

Note that there are other third-party sandbox applications that you can still try: Sandboxie (both free and paid versions); BitBox, specially designed for browsing; Shade Sandbox and more. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, what Windows Sandbox offers is the convenience of a free, secure sandboxing solution built into Windows.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published before the Windows 10 May 2019 update was launched. It has been revised to remove the reference to Windows Insider builds and the future language.

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