How to fix the display bug in Windows 10 Sandbox

Windows 10 Sandbox can be a great tool for testing suspicious applications. However, Sandbox has a bug Microsoft has yet to meaningfully address. We have a workaround.

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Of the many features and updates released with the May 2019 Update of Microsoft Windows 10 (aka, Version 1903), was a simplified virtual machine application called Windows 10 Sandbox. Virtual machines are great tools for testing suspicious applications, links, and other questionable items in relative isolation from your primary computer and network. However, such tools are only useful when the work correctly.

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Windows 10 Sandbox has a bug that Microsoft has yet to meaningfully address. If you have personalized your Windows 10 computer to run with a customized scaling, then running the Windows 10 Sandbox will result in an instance of the app that continuously blinks. Of course, this display bug makes the tool useless. But there is an easy work around.

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How to enable Windows 10 Sandbox

Before anything else, you must first enable Windows 10 Sandbox, which is not enabled by default. The details for this procedure have been covered before on TechRepublic, check out How to use Windows 10's Windows Sandbox to test software

Note that Windows 10 Sandbox is only available in the Pro or Enterprise versions of the operating system running on machines with minimum specifications, so make sure you the right software and hardware. Windows 10 Home users do not have access.

To enable the Windows 10 Sandbox, navigate to the Windows 10 Control Panel and then click the Programs and Features item. A checkbox to enable the tool can be found under the Turn Windows Features On Or Off link.

Once Windows 10 Sandbox is enabled, you can run the tool just like any other Windows 10 application. However, if you are using a customized scaling for your Windows 10 display, the app will run but not allow you to use it in any meaningful way.

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How to fix the display bug in Windows 10 Sandbox

As displays and their corresponding resolutions and pixel densities get larger, some elements of the Windows 10 interface like icons and titles get smaller. To compensate, many users scale-up their displays to 125% or 150% of normal. Personally, my preference is 115%. Regardless of your preference, when it comes to the Windows 10 Sandbox, the scaling must be 100%.

To change the scaling of your computer's display, click or tap on the Start Menu button and then click the Settings icon (gear). Select the System item from the list and click the Display link in the left navigation bar to reach the screen shown in Figure A.

Figure A

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Figure A

Scroll down to the Scale and Layout section and click the Turn off custom scaling and sign out link. Note, save your work before you click that link because you will sign out immediately. When you sign back into Windows 10, you will find the scaling has been returned to the default 100% setting, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

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Figure B

Now, when you run the Windows 10 Sandbox you will get a stable virtual machine instance (Figure C). The Windows 10 Sandbox is a blank slate except for Microsoft Edge.

Figure C

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Figure C

With Windows 10 Sandbox you can try files, test applications, and more, and not worry about infecting your primary computer or network. When you exit out of Windows 10 Sandbox, everything that has occurred during that session will be lost.

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