Microsoft's next big feature update for its latest operating system is currently codenamed Windows 10 19H1. As the name suggests, it'll debut in the first half of 2019. While the rollout is quite some time away, news about upcoming and deprecated features has already started coming, thanks to Insider builds.
Now, it appears that the company might be planning to integrate a virtual desktop environment called "Windows Sandbox" in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise.
As spotted by ZDNet, Microsoft has officially announced Windows Sandbox, which it describes as a "lightweight... isolated, temporary, desktop environment" for running potentially harmful software on your PC. The company notes that running a malicious program in Sandbox won't have a "lasting impact" on your machine, and once you close the software, all of its associated files and sessions will be permanently deleted to ensure security.
Microsoft has noted several advantages of Windows Sandbox over other traditional alternatives, such as the fact that it's built in to Windows and you don't need to download additional software. Furthermore, each instance of Sandbox acts as a freshly installed Windows copy with no existing files from previous sessions. Moreover, it makes use of hardware-based virtualization via hypervisor to isolate its kernel from the host, and it is also more efficient because it uses the integrated kernel scheduler and virtual GPU, along with smarter memory management.
Interestingly, Microsoft has stated that you need to have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise build 18305 to utilize Sandbox. This build is expected to roll out to Insiders soon, which also means that it is slated for official release in Windows 10 19H1 next year. Microsoft has suggested that those who want to utilize Windows Sandbox have the following prerequisites on their machine:
- Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise build 18305 or later
- AMD64 architecture
- Virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS
- At least 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
- At least 1 GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
- At least 2 CPU cores (4 cores with hyperthreading recommended)
Thanks for the tip Jazmac!