Whether a program you found on the Internet or something that came into your email, running executables, has always been risky. Testing software in clean systems requires virtual machine (VM) software and a separate Windows license to run inside the World Cup. Microsoft is in the process of solving the problem with Windows Sandbox.
World Championships: Great for Safe Testing, But Hard to Use
We have all received an email that appears to be from a friend or family member and has attachments. Perhaps we expected it, but it does not work properly. Or maybe you've found a great app on the web, but it's from a developer you've never heard of.
What are you doing? Download and run it and just take the risk? With things like ransomware running fast, it's almost impossible to be too careful.
In software development, it's sometimes what a developer needs the most, a clean system ̵
The best solution for both situations is to spin a virtual machine. This gives you a clean, isolated operating system. If that attachment turns out to be malware, it's the only thing that affects the virtual machine. Restore it to a previous snapshot and you're good at going. If you are a developer, you can do your testing as if you had just set up a brand new machine.
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There are some issues with World Cup software, though.
First, it can be expensive. Even if you use a free option like VirtualBox, you still need a valid Windows license to run on the virtualized operating system. And for sure, you can get away with not activating Windows 10, but it limits what you can test.
Secondly, it requires a reasonably powerful hardware and a lot of storage to run a World Cup at a decent performance level. If you are using snapshots, you can quickly fill up a smaller SSD. If you use a large hard drive, performance can be slow. You probably will not use these powerful hungry resources on a laptop.
And finally, VMs are complicated. Not exactly something you want to set up just to test out a questionable executable file.
Fortunately, Microsoft has announced a new solution that addresses all of these issues at once.
] In a post on Microsoft's Tech Community blog, Hari Pulapaka describes the new Windows Sandbox. Earlier referred to as InPrivate Desktop, this feature creates an "isolated, temporary, desktop environment" that you can run software without fear of harming your machine.
Like a standard World Cup, software you install in the Sandbox is isolated and can not affect the host. When you close the sandbox, any programs you have installed, any files you have added, and any changes you made will be deleted. Next time you drive the Sandbox, it's back to a clean slate. Microsoft uses hardware-based virtualization through hypervisor to run its own kernel so that it can isolate the Sandbox from the host.
This means that you can safely download an executable file from a hazardous source and install in Sandbox without risk to your host system. Or you can quickly test a development scenario in a new copy of Windows.
Impressive, the requirements are quite low:
- Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise builds 18301 or later (currently unavailable but will soon be released as
- AMD64 Architecture
- Virtualization Features Enabled in BIOS
- At least 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
- At least 1 GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
- At least 1 GB of RAM 2 CPU cores (4 cores with hyperthreading recommended)
One of the better parts of the Sandbox is that you do not need to download or create a virtual hard drive (VHD). Instead, Windows dynamically generates a clean snapshot OS based on Host OS on your computer. In the process, it links files that are not changed on the system and refer to common files that change.
This gives an incredibly easy image, only 100 MB. If you do not use the sandbox, the image will be compressed to a small 25 MB. And because it's actually a copy of your operating system, you do not need your own license ensnøkkel. If you have Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise, you have everything you need to run the Sandbox.
For security, Microsoft uses the container concept that it has introduced earlier. Sandbox OS is isolated from the host, so it seems that a World Cup seems to run like an app.
Despite degrees of separation, the host and Sandbox work together. As required, the host will recover memory from the sandbox to prevent your machine from being lowered. And the sandbox is aware of the battery's battery level so it can optimize power consumption. It is possible to drive the sandbox on a laptop while on the move.
All this and other enhancements provide an extremely safe, fast and cheap virtual system. It provides a fast and safe World Cup-like solution with much less cost than a traditional solution. You can quickly call up, test and destroy still images – repeat as needed. Like all things intensive, better hardware will make this drive even smoother. But as shown above, even less powerful hardware could drive the sandbox.
The only disadvantage is that not all machines come with Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. If you are using Windows 10 Home, you can not use the Sandbox.
How do I get it?
Unfortunately, you can not get Windows Sandbox simply yet. It requires Windows 10 build 18301 or higher, as Microsoft has not released yet. But when that version is available, it's a straightforward affair. You want to make sure that BIOS has enabled virtualization capabilities. Then you only need to turn on Windows Sandbox in the Windows Features dialog:
When Windows Sandbox is installed, launch is almost the same as any other app or application. Just find it on the Start menu, run it, and accept the UAC query that provides administrative privileges. Then you can drag and drop files and applications into the Sandbox to test as needed. Just close the application when you're done and Sandbox discard all the changes you've made.
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