The Salesforce Winter '21 release is approaching and soon you can take advantage of exciting new features and functionality. If you are a sandbox customer, you can get early access to Winter '21 to test new customisations and features before we upgrade your production organisation.

The Sandbox Preview window for Winter '21 begins on September 11, 2020. You must have an active sandbox on a preview instance before then to take advantage of the preview.

Please read carefully and follow the instructions in the next section for specific information on how to handle each of your sandboxes. In most cases, you will not need to do anything because your sandbox is already on a preview instance. But you may need to take action before September 11, 2020 for your sandbox to take part in the Winter '21 Preview.


General information about the sandbox service

Sandbox instances are split into two groups — preview and non-preview. We upgrade preview instances to the newer version of Salesforce before production instances (e.g. NA2, EU1, AP0) and non-preview instances towards the end of a major release along with the majority of production instances. 

For the Winter '21 Release, we will upgrade the preview instances to Winter '21 on September 11 and September 12, 2020, and non-preview instances to Winter '21 on October 16 and October 17, 2020.

Click image to view in a new browser window


Between now and September 11, 2020, we’ll route all sandbox requests to preview instances. If your sandbox is complete in time for the major release on September 11, 2020, we’ll upgrade it to the newest version of Salesforce.

On September 11, 2020, we will reset all incomplete sandbox requests to a non-preview instance and route pending and new sandbox requests to non-preview instances until you upgrade your production instance to Winter '21. We need to do this because we’re only able to create sandboxes on the same major release version of Salesforce as the production org.

You have from now until September 11, 2020, to decide if you would like your sandbox to take part in the Winter '21 Preview. Follow the steps below for each sandbox org you have.

Note: If you have a full sandbox, be mindful of the 29-day refresh policy and plan accordingly.


I need to create a new sandbox — what are my options?


I have an existing sandbox — what are my options?

1. Determine your sandbox instance

To determine which instance your sandbox is on, log into your production org and navigate to your Sandbox List page (Search “Sandbox” in the Quick Find bar on the Setup Home Page). Determine your sandbox instance by using the Location column.

2. Should I refresh, not refresh, or do nothing?

Once you locate your current sandbox instance, use the chart below to determine if, when, and what action you should take on your sandbox.

Click image to view in a new browser window

Note: If you decide to stay on the current Summer '20 release, we will not upgrade your sandbox to Winter '21 until October 17, 2020.


AppExchange preview instructions

If you plan to upload and/or install one or more AppExchange packages using your sandboxes during the Sandbox Preview window, you should use the chart below to determine your course of action.

Click image to view in a new browser window


If you have additional questions about your sandbox options in conjunction with the Winter '21 release, please contact Salesforce Support.


Important — plan ahead!

Due to the popularity of the Sandbox Preview program, there are often backlogs in sandbox create and refresh requests. Since we will reset all incomplete sandboxes to a non-preview instance prior to the deadline on September 11, 2020, we recommend you request your sandbox a week in advance of the deadline to improve the chances of obtaining a completed sandbox on a preview instance. While we strive to process each request in a timely manner, we cannot guarantee the completion of your sandbox before the deadline.


Note about sandbox cloning

Prior to 12:00 p.m. PT September 11, 2020 (19:00 UTC September 11, 2020), we will process sandbox clone requests on a preview instance.

From 1:00 p.m. PT, September 11, 2020 (20:00 UTC September 11, 2020) through October 17, 2020, we will process sandbox clone requests on the same release version of Salesforce as the sandbox being cloned.


Resources to help you prepare

Sandbox Preview Guide


This post was originally published on the U.S.-version of the Salesforce blog.