Windows Sandbox is one of the best features of Windows 11, but it’s missing from the popular Home edition of the operating system. Same goes with Hyper-V and Group Policy Editor on Windows 11 Home. There are many such differences between Windows 11 Pro and Home, which we have previously highlighted in this dedicated article. Windows Sandbox, being one of the essential security features, should have been present in Windows 11 Home. Nevertheless, we have you covered and you can follow this guide to learn how to enable Windows Sandbox on Windows 11 Home. We have also provided an alternative in case the native Sandbox tool does not work with this workaround.
Install Windows Sandbox on Windows 11 Home Edition (2022)
In this tutorial, we demonstrated the steps to install and use Windows Sandbox on Windows 11 Home. Along with that, we have also included a Windows Sandbox alternative to allow you to run programs in a safe environment on any edition of Windows 11. That said, let me first explain what is Windows Sandbox.
What is Windows Sandbox?
Simply put, Windows Sandbox is a secure and isolated environment in the host operating system (Windows 10 or Windows 11). Here you can run unverified programs and scripts and download attachments without having to worry about infecting your computer with malware. It is basically a lightweight virtual machine with a protected state where memory integrity is persistently enabled.
No program or file running in Windows Sandbox can modify or alter the host operating system. It’s slightly different from your usual virtual machine software, because Sandbox does not save any changes made inside the environment. Every time you open Windows Sandbox, it restarts again, deleting all previous data. Windows Sandbox is mainly used to test unknown applications and scripts, open sketchy websites, download suspicious attachments from emails, etc.
Enable and Use Windows Sandbox on Windows 11 Home Edition
1. First of all, you need to enable virtualization in BIOS or UEFI menu. For this, you need to boot into the BIOS/UEFI menu of your Windows 11 PC and search for “Virtualization“, or “SVM Mode”. Now enable it and restart your PC.
To note: If you want to learn more about UEFI and understand why modern computers are moving away from BIOS, read the linked article.
2. After logging in to your PC, open Notepad and paste the content below.
@echo off echo Checking for permissions >nul 2>&1 "%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\cacls.exe" "%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\config\system" echo Permission check result: %errorlevel% REM --> If error flag set, we do not have admin. if '%errorlevel%' NEQ '0' ( echo Requesting administrative privileges... goto UACPrompt ) else ( goto gotAdmin ) :UACPrompt echo Set UAC = CreateObject^("Shell.Application"^) > "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" echo UAC.ShellExecute "%~s0", "", "", "runas", 1 >> "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" echo Running created temporary "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" timeout /T 2 "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" exit /B :gotAdmin if exist "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" ( del "%temp%\getadmin.vbs" ) pushd "%CD%" CD /D "%~dp0" echo Batch was successfully started with admin privileges echo . cls Title Sandbox Installer pushd "%~dp0" dir /b %SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\*Containers*.mum >sandbox.txt for /f %%i in ('findstr /i . sandbox.txt 2^>nul') do dism /online /norestart /add-package:"%SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\%%i" del sandbox.txt Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:Containers-DisposableClientVM /LimitAccess /ALL pause
3. Now click “File” in the top menu and choose “Save as“.
4. After that, select “All Files (.)” from the “Save as type” drop-down menu and give the file a name. Next, add the
.bat at the end to save it as a batch file. Make sure there is no .txt or other file extension at the end. Finally, click “Save”.
5. Now right click on the saved batch file and choose “Execute as administrator“.
6. A command prompt window will open and Windows Sandbox will start installing on your Windows 11 Home PC. After installation, press “y” and press Enter. This will restart your Windows 11 computer.
7. Once logged in, use the Windows 11 Windows + R keyboard shortcut keys to open the Run prompt. Here you have to type
optionalfeatures.exe and press Enter.
8. A “Windows Features” window will now open. Here scroll down and activate Windows Sandbox, Virtual machine platform and Windows hypervisor platform. Finally, press the OK button. It will start installing the necessary packages and after some time will ask you to restart the computer.
To note: If you are using Windows 11 Pro edition, you can directly skip to this step and enable the required features to start using Windows Sandbox virtual environment on your PC.
9. Finally, open the start menu and search for “windows sandbox“. It will appear at the top and you can click to open Windows Sandbox.
10. There you go! You have successfully activated Windows Sandbox on Windows 11 Home Edition.
Uninstall Windows Sandbox on Windows 11 Home Edition
11. If you wish uninstall windows sandbox From Windows 11 Home, open the start menu and search for “cmd”. Now, in the right pane, click on “Run as administrator”. If you still want to run CMD as administrator, follow our linked guide for more details.
12. In the CMD window, paste the command below and press Enter. This will uninstall Windows Sandbox from your PC.
Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:"Containers-DisposableClientVM"
Windows Sandbox Alternative: Run Sandboxie Plus on Windows 11
In case the the above method did not work on your Windows 11 PC and you are still looking for a way to run and test untrusted programs in an isolated environment, you can install Sandboxie Plus. It is a third party open source program developed by David Xanatos which works well on all editions of Windows 11 including Home edition. The best part is that it is absolutely free. On that note, let’s go ahead and try Sandboxie Plus on Windows 11 Home, an alternative to Windows Sandbox.
1. Visit this link and download the More version from Sandboxie. The Plus version has a modern user interface and works quite well.
2. After downloading the program, Install Sandboxie Plus on your Windows 11 PC and open the app.
3. Now right click on “DefaultBox” and choose “Run”. Here you can open a sandboxed web browser, an email reader, any program from the start menu, etc. I am going to choose “run program“. This will open another prompt and ask you to choose the program you want to open.
4. To run an EXE file in Sandboxie, right click on the EXE program and choose “Copy as path“. This will copy the address of the EXE file.
5. Paste this path into the Sandboxie prompt and press “OKAY“.
6. There you go. Sandboxie will start running the program in a sandbox environment on your Windows 11 PC. This is how you can run any program in a safe environment on Windows 11 using a third-party application.
Test Untrusted Programs in Windows 11 Sandbox
So those are the two ways to run apps in a protected environment on Windows 11. With each passing day, rootkits and malware are becoming more and more sophisticated in their attacks. It is therefore incumbent on us to do our due diligence before running any unknown program. And Windows Sandbox is designed specifically for this. Anyway, it all comes from us. If you want to protect your privacy on Windows 11, follow our linked article for a detailed guide. And to enable Hyper-V in Windows 11 Home – another feature missing in the Home edition – follow our nifty instructions. Finally, if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.