Customizing Windows Sandbox with the Config File

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Microsoft introduced Windows Sandbox back in January but shortly after added the support for a simple configuration file that provides some minimal scripting support with a bit customization capability.

If you haven’t used Windows Sandbox before, check this post to get started.

By default, without a config file, Windows Sandbox spins up a default image that mimics the copy of the Windows 10 system installed on your computer. But in many cases, you may need a bit more and that’s why the config file comes in play.

The Windows Sandbox config files are formatted in XML format but with a different extension name .wsb that can be launched in Windows Sandbox directly. As of today, there are 4 components that you can customize in one config file, vGPU, Networking, Shared folders, and Startup script.

Windows Sandbox Config File

Here is a quick overview of the settings you can use right now, kudos to Thomas Maurer:

NameSettingSubSettingValue
Virtual GPU<vGPU>Disable – Disables vGPU
Default – vGPU enabled
Networking<Networking>Disable – disables Networking
Default – Networking enabled
Shared Folder<MappedFolders><HostFolder>Path to the host (local) folder
<ReadOnly>True/False
Startup Script<LogonCommand><Command>Command that runs like a logon script

Here is a full example of a config file for your reference:

<Configuration>
    <vGPU>Disable</vGPU>
    <Networking>Disable</Networking>
    <MappedFolders>
      <MappedFolder>
        <HostFolder>c:\users\kent\downloads</HostFolder>
        <ReadOnly>True</ReadOnly>
      </MappedFolder>
    </MappedFolders>
    <LogonCommand>
      <Command>notepad.exe</Command>
    </LogonCommand>
</Configuration>

Save the config file on your desktop with a .wsb extension name. Now let’s double click and see what happens.

It launches Windows Sandbox that maps my local downloads folder on the desktop with Read-Only rights and opens the notepad at the end with network disabled.

image 8 600x352 - Customizing Windows Sandbox with the Config File

The nice thing about using the config file is that now I can make a bunch of config files with different setups for different scenarios.

Lastly, check out this blog post by Windows Kernal Internals for more details.

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