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If my knowledge is correct, Windows Sandbox requires Hyper-V to run right? But when I enable Windows Sandbox on the Windows Features window, Hyper-V did not get enabled so I wanted to know what was up?

Screenshot of Windows Features settings showing Sandbox enabled and Hyper-V disabled

As far as I know, Windows Sandbox is working as it should right now but Hyper-V is not enabled? I just want to know why that is the case.

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  • It may require the Hyper-V hypervisor core, but not Hyper-V tooling.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 13:54

2 Answers 2

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To support the Windows Sandbox and WSL2, Hyper-V has been split up into two parts in Windows 10.

The hypervisor, known as the "Virtual Machine Platform", is available on all Windows versions and is the minimum that is required to run the Windows Sandbox and WSL2 as light-weight virtual machines that are tightly integrated with the host.

Hyper-V Manager is now a distinct Windows feature that is used for running full-featured virtual machines whose integration with the host is limited. It is not available on Windows Home.

Answer : The Windows Sandbox does require the underlying base of Hyper-V, whose feature is called "Virtual Machine Platform", but does not require the heavier upper part of Hyper-V, whose feature is called "Windows Hypervisor Platform".

Read also : Windows Sandbox No Hypervisor Found Error: Solution.


I have today found this excellent summary in the article What’s the difference between Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Platform, Windows Hypervisor Platform that explains the involved Windows components in the order of top to bottom:

“Hyper-V” is the component that adds the management tools and platform to create and run virtual machines on Windows 11.

“Windows Hypervisor Platform” enables the user-mode API components to allow third-party virtualization stacks and applications (Docker, VirtualBox, and QEMU) to connect and interact with Hyper-V.

“Virtual Machine Platform” is the component that enables virtualization support to run virtual machines, and you must turn on this feature to use the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). In addition, the component can also help to create MSIX app packages for an MSI or App-V.

In other words, if you want to create virtual machines on Windows 11, you want to enable the Hyper-V option, and if you plan to set up WSL on your computer, you want to install the Virtual Machine Platform.

A remark by user71659 adds this information :

It's split into multiple pieces now. The hypervisor is installed by default in order to support features like Virtualization-based Security, which is automatically enabled on adequately new machines/installs.

This explains why Windows Sandbox does not need the "Virtual Machine Platform" feature in order to function.

In all, virtualization in Windows 10/11 has now been divided among four levels of functionality.

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    But if you look at my screenshot, even Virtual Machine Platform is not enabled? Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 13:29
  • Windows Sandbox might implicitly enable it behind the scene - it is after all just a light virtual machine.
    – harrymc
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 13:36
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    It's split into multiple pieces now. The hypervisor is installed by default in order to support features like Virtualization-based Security, which is automatically enabled on adequately new machines/installs. "Virtual Machine Platform" allows virtual machines to run, versus VBS. "Windows Hypervisor Platform" allows third-party VM software to run under the hypervisor, since it is now on by default. "Hyper-V" is the management and integration components for Microsoft's VM platform.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 3:30
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Hyper-V is not enabled?

It doesn't need to be. Windows Sandbox and Hyper-V are different technologies:

Sandbox is not a virtualization hypervisor like Hyper-v or VirtualBox so there is no need to download VHD or ISO images to run Windows Sandbox as its built-in in the host operating system using a container so the resource utilization is very low compared to Hyper-V or VirtualBox.

Another big difference between Windows Sandbox and Hyper-V is that Windows Sandbox doesn’t save anything, everything is deleted once your turn it off. Think of it more like a session than a virtualization platform like Hyper-V or VirtualBox.

Source: Windows Sandbox Vs Hyper-V

See Also: virtual machine - Why can I casually bypass Windows 10 Hyper-V's sandbox and download to my host PC? - Super User

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