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VDM Sandbox Preview (Updated Sep 19, 2021)

Originally designed to address partial screen sharing for teleconferencing applications such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, “VDM Sandbox” was spun out into a separate project parallel to teleconferencing plugin available as Tech Preview here.

VDM Sandbox launched within the parent Desktop

What is it?

VDM Sandbox allows creation of an independent single monitor desktop that can be seamlessly resized across current local or remote desktop, while providing:

  • An independent Window Station to load any application that is already installed within the current environment (see limitations and exceptions below).
  • Desired resolution or screen formfactor, which is independent from the current desktop layout or monitors present.
  • Performance and high framerate, using Microsoft pioneered RemoteFx technologies, while utilizing existing graphics adapters without an overhead of virtualization solutions.

What is it good for?

  • Gaming, when the forced full screen experience is preventing access to other application and thus is undesirable
  • Great for software developers and IT professionals for application testing, by customizing screen resolution and shielding current Windows Station from application crashing, while contained within VDM Sandbox.

Capabilities

  • VDM Sanbox’s desktop is loaded under the identity of the current user.
  • Launched as the second “child” desktop within the current desktop, where applications can be launched, full screen or not.
  • Can be resized to the desired size
  • Window borders can be turned on/off via [Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow] to make experience even more seamless, especially in teleconferencing scenarios.
  • When closed, all applications that were part of VDM Sandbox’s windows station are closed.

Current limitations

  • VDM Sandbox does not support impersonation or elevated privileges. While an issue for some Gamers, it has little impact on the majority of “regular” users.
  • VDM Sandbox does load all applications that are set for auto-start with the parent environment, which should be manageable.
  • Some applications, such as Google Chrome, are enforcing a single EXE instance per user, Chrome Browser can be run either outside or inside VDM Desktop, not both. This is not an issue with other browsers, as far as we know.
  • On Windows 11 Preview a prompt for user name and password might be encountered.

Compatibility

  • OS compatibility is focused on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10, including Home, Enterprise and Pro editions.
  • Compatible with Windows 11 Preview 22000.
  • VDM Sandbox supports physical and virtual desktops, including all common Microsoft, Citrix and VMware VDI solutions.
  • On the first run accept the prompt to enable the feature for all users.
  • To disable, the feature is otherwise benign, use run “VDMDsk.exe -u” as administrator.

The message above, along with the disconnect error are the indicators that VDM Sandbox is not supported on that particular system.

As of late May 2021, Microsoft patches to Windows 10, Server 2016 and 2019 have disabled support Microsoft RDS Child Sessions used by VDM Sandbox, thus impacting VDM Sandbox ability to support affected systems.

That issue was resolved with the following patches and as of today, June 6, 2021, Windows 10 version 20H2 Build 19042.1023 has this functionality restored.

Installation

  • Binaries require no installation and work with .Net Framework 4.5.2 and up.

Downloads

Download VDM Sandbox ver: 1.0.0.33 size: 380 KB date: September 19, 2021

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