How to Enable Windows Sandbox on Windows 11

You can enable Windows Sandbox on Windows 11, a secure environment that isolates the running apps from the main system. It is extremely useful for testing new apps and software you don't trust.

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Microsoft first introduced Windows Sandbox in Windows 10. You maybe already familiar with it. If not, it is a lightweight temporary desktop session to run apps of your choice isolated.

"Isolated" means that the app will run without accessing to files, Registry and other resources of you main Windows OS. Once you close the Sandbox, it will automatically erase all the data associated with it.

Due to this implementation, you cannot directly run an app in Windows Sandbox. You must install it inside the Sandbox before running it. Apps you have already installed on your host machine are not accessible from within the Sandbox.

This post will show you how to enable the Windows Sandbox feature in Windows 11.

Enable Windows Sandbox on Windows 11

  1. Press the Win + R shortcut keys and type optionalfeatures.exe into the Run dialog. Hit Enter.Optionalfeatures In The Run Dialog
  2. Place the check mark next to the Windows Sandbox option to enable it and click OK.Enable Windows Sandbox On Windows 11
  3. Close the Windows Features dialog.Restart Prompt In Windows Features
  4. Restart the OS to apply the changes.

Done! After restarting, you can start using Sandbox. See below how to use it. But before we start, here's a couple of alternative methods to enable the Sandbox feature.

Enable Windows Sandbox with PowerShell

  1. Press Win + S to open Windows Search and type PowerShell.
  2. Click on Run as Administrator to start it elevated.Run Powershell As Administrator
  3. Enter the following command and hit Enter: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName "Containers-DisposableClientVM" -All.Enable Sandbox In Powershell
  4. The undo command that disables the Sandbox looks like this: Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName "Containers-DisposableClientVM" -Online.
  5. If prompted to restart the OS, type Y.

If that's not enough, you can use the good old command prompt and the DISM tool to enable the feature. I'll show you how.

Turn on Windows Sandbox with DISM

  1. In Windows Search (Win+S), type cmd.
  2. Look for the Command Prompt item and then select Run as Administrator.Run Command Prompt As Admin
  3. Type the following command to enable the Sandbox: dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:"Containers-DisposableClientVM" -All.Enable Windows Sandbox With Dism
  4. Restart the OS if prompted to apply the change.
  5. Finally, the undo command to disable the feature is dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:"Containers-DisposableClientVM".

Done.

Enable Windows Sandbox in Windows 11 Home

  1. Download the ZIP archive named Sandbox Installer.zip. (H/t Deskmodder).
  2. Unpack the files to any folder of your choice.
  3. Unblock the files.
  4. Double click on the file Sandbox Installer.bat to activate the feature.

How does it work

The batch file registers all the Sandbox packages in Windows 11 Home, and tries to activate the "Containers-DisposableClientVM" optional feature using DISM. This should enable Windows Sandbox with ease!

Now, let's see how to use Windows Sandbox to start an app using it.

How to use Windows Sandbox

  1. Open the Start menu and find Windows Sandbox.Windows Sandbox In Start Menu
  2. Click its icon and confirm the UAC prompt to run it.
  3. Copy the app you want to run it, e.g. some installer or executable file, on the host machine.
  4. Switch to the Windows Sandbox window and paste the file. Also, you can directly download a file using the Edge browser in the Sandbox session.Copy Installer To Sandbox Session
  5. Run the app in Sandbox by clicking on the file you just paste.Run App In Sandbox
  6. After you checked and tested the app, you can just close the Sandbox window. Its session will be removed, and all the associated data will be destroyed.

Finally, I would like to mention that Sandbox is not available in home editions of Windows 11. It is included in Pro and Enterprise versions of the OS.

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5 thoughts on “How to Enable Windows Sandbox on Windows 11

  1. Vaibhav

    Hello Sergey,

    Another great guide man.

    Thanks

    Reply
  2. Richard

    Thanks for the guide. None of these options work though – Windows Optional Features does not have the Sandbox in it as of 22000.168; all shell options result in the error “Feature name Containers-DisposableClientVM is unknown”. Perhaps it has been removed or is only available in specific Windows SKUs? I am using “Windows 11 Home” on the insider fast ring.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Hello.
      Windows Home doesn’t include the sandbox feature.
      I have updated the post with instructions for Windows 11 Home.

      Reply
  3. Eddie

    I have installed succesfully, but when launched pop up says “Windows Sandbox failed to initialize”?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Make sure that you have all the VT-related features enabled in bios/uefi

      Reply

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