Jul 6, 2023
4 minutes

Setting up a Microsoft 365 Sandbox in Less Than 5 Minutes

Setting up a Microsoft 365 Sandbox in Less Than 5 Minutes

A powerful tool in testing new platforms that work with Microsoft365 is setting up a sandbox environment. If you aren’t familiar with this hidden gem, Microsoft will give you, for free, a full-blown Microsoft 365 setup with 25 users with E5 (the more expensive kind) licenses. It lasts for 90 days, and the use is limited to testing and development. However, the requirements to obtain a sandbox aren’t always clearly documented elsewhere and so, here are three easy steps to get you going.

Sign up for the Microsoft 365 Developer Program

Microsoft 365 Developer Program website

Sign up for the Microsoft 365 Developer Program. It is straightforward, and anyone can get it. If you already have a Microsoft account, even if it's associated with your personal email, you will just need to provide some very basic information and answer two multiple choice questions:

  • Country, Company, Language Preference
  • Focus as a developer: “Appliances for internal use at my company”
  • Areas of interest: “Microsoft Graph”

Create an instant sandbox

Microsoft 365 E5 Sandbox website

Once your account is created, you will be instantly prompted to create a sandbox account. Pick the instant option as it’s the fastest and likely what you want. Keep an eye on your email as we have noticed the site doesn't always refresh once setup is complete. The domain specified in your email will be your sandbox domain. Oh, you’ll likely also need to provide a phone number to verify your account (and prevent abuse, we guess).

Validate your sandbox with Alcion

Your instant sandbox comes populated with data including emails, calendars, and SharePoint sites. Now you are all set to try it with Alcion. Just go over to, log in with your sandbox credentials, and you will be off to the races. You can both validate your sandbox and start your first backups within 5-10 minutes! Seriously, try it out.

Questions and limitations

Remember that the sandbox will only stick around for 90 days (although you can often renew it), and it is restricted to development and testing. If you have questions, find us on Discord!

Niraj Tolia
Niraj Tolia
CEO and Co-Founder, Alcion

Niraj Tolia is the co-founder and CEO at Alcion. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO at Kasten, the leading and award-winning Kubernetes backup company that was acquired by Veeam in 2020. Post-acquisition, he continued, as General Manager and President of the Kasten by Veeam business unit, to accelerate the growth of Veeam’s cloud-native business. With a strong technical background in distributed systems, storage, and data management, he previously held leadership roles, including Senior Director of Engineering at Dell EMC and VP of Engineering and Chief Architect at Maginatics (acquired by EMC). Dr. Tolia received his PhD, MS, and BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.