Microsoft Promises Sandboxed Apps With the Security of VMs

Image Getty Images

Image Getty Images

In some technical details it provides, Microsoft says that Windows Sandbox is based upon the same technologies as Windows Containers, created to enable its cloud portfolio. Windows will soon have a tool to help you find out what that questionable EXE file does. That feature has now been officially announced with a new name, Windows Sandbox.

With Windows Sandbox, users will also be able to take advantage of fresh Windows installations to test particular applications without any worry that this particular application could harm your computer.

Earlier this year, we broke the story that Microsoft was releasing a new feature called inPrivate Desktop for its enterprise users. In other words, this is nearly like a normal VM, where the VM uses an entirely different OS image than the one on the host, except the Windows Sandbox uses unmodified files of the operating system to save on resources.

While the Office App for Windows 10 appears to be a polished version of the My Office experience, equipped with new Office icons and all, it's also a PWA developed app that brings the denser functionality from Office.com to the desktop.

When Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise insider build 18305 is released you will be able to install Windows Sandbox through the Windows Features screen.

It remains to be seen how well Windows Sandbox can be integrated into regular workflows and whether app data from the Sandbox can be saved to the host drive or not.

The concept of a sandbox is not a new one.

Sharing is used for memory, too; operating system executables and libraries loaded within the VM use the same physical memory as those same executables and libraries loaded into the host OS. However, this claim will have to be time-tested to be proven right. Microsoft integrated this within Windows 10, adding features that made it more suitable for running on devices and laptops. The company said that the goal here is to make the sandbox act more like an app rather than another virtual machine, but still have the same (or close to the same) security guarantees as a virtual machine. The sandbox virtual machine is different; its processes and threads are directly exposed to the host OS' scheduler, and they are scheduled just like any other threads on the machine.

Microsoft's engineers, uh, engineered the Sandbox in a clever way.

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