A free built-in virtual machine is available for Windows 11 users, but it must be found and installed first. The process involves several steps and has recently changed. We explain.
Since the May 2019 update of Windows 10Microsoft has allowed professional and business users to install a virtual version of the operating system, the Windows sandbox. This containerized virtual machine allows users to deploy, run, and test software and other activities in an isolated environment that is separate from the Windows 11 host. When implemented, Windows 11 Sandbox can be a valuable feature.
However, the Windows 11 Sandbox is not available to users by default. The software must be downloaded and installed from an extensive list of optional Windows features buried deep within the Windows 11 Settings app.
This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to find the list of optional Windows features and how to install and use Windows 11 Sandbox.
TO SEE: Configure Windows Sandbox settings (TechRepublic)
Install the built-in Virtual Sandbox in Windows 11
Note: In a previously published article on TechRepublic, we discussed the Sandbox installation process for Windows 10. While the process for Windows 11 is similar, there are enough significant differences that we need to revisit the procedures.
The Windows 11 Sandbox is currently only available for Windows Pro, Windows Enterprise, and Windows Education. Microsoft does not allow the software to be installed on a Windows Home computer. Your hardware must have 1 GB of free storage and 4 GB of RAM.
After logging into a Windows 11 computer with administrative credentials, open the Settings app. Using the left navigation bar, select the Apps entry from the list, as shown in Image A.
Scroll down the right pane and select the item named Optional Features. Scroll through the right pane on this screen and click on More Windows features, found under the Related settings section, as shown in Figure B.
When you click that entry, you open the Windows 11 optional features screen, as shown in Figure C. This control panel shows you all installed and uninstalled features of Windows 11.
To install the Windows 11 Sandbox software, scroll through the list of optional features to the entry labeled Windows Sandbox. Then place a check in the appropriate box, as shown in Figure D. click OK to start the installation process.
When the download is complete, you will be prompted to restart your PC to complete the installation.
After restarting, Windows 11 Sandbox is now available from the Start menu as shown in Figures E.
When you run the Windows 11 Sandbox app, you will be presented with a basic virtual installation of Windows 11 as shown in Figure F.
The Sandbox allows you to install and run suspicious apps, test configurations, and browse websites – all in an isolated version of the Windows operating system. When you are done with the Sandbox, simply exit the application and return to your default Windows 11 operating system. Everything in the Sandbox will be deleted and forgotten, and when the app is reopened a new, clean version will appear.
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