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The Sandbox Preview window begins on January 8, 2021. Here's what you need to know to get a completed sandbox on a preview instance.

The Salesforce Spring ’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 Spring ’21 to test new customizations and features before we upgrade your production organization.

The Sandbox Preview window for Spring ’21 begins on January 8, 2021. 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 need to take action before January 7, 2021 (the day prior to Sandbox Preview) for your sandbox to take part in the Spring ’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 Spring ’21 Release, we will upgrade the preview instances to Spring ’21 on January 8 and January 9, 2021, and non-preview instances to Spring ’21 on February 12 and February 13, 2021.

Important Sandbox Release dates

January 8–9, 2021

Preview instances: CS2, CS4, CS5, CS7, CS9, CS11, CS14, CS15, CS17, CS19, CS20, CS21, CS23, CS25, CS26, CS27, CS28, CS31, CS32, CS34, CS35, CS36, CS37, CS41, CS42, CS44, CS45, CS47, CS53, CS57, CS59, CS61, CS63, CS67, CS69, CS72, CS74, CS75, CS76, CS77, CS78, CS79, CS80, CS81, CS84, CS87, CS88, CS91, CS95, CS96, CS97, CS99, CS105, CS106, CS107, CS108, CS109, CS111, CS112, CS113, CS116, CS122, CS123, CS124, CS125, CS126, CS127, CS128, CS129, CS133, CS137, CS138, CS142, CS152, CS159, CS160, CS169, CS174, CS189, CS190, CS191, CS192, CS193, CS194, CS195, CS196, CS197, CS198, CS199, CS201, CS203, AUS2S, AUS8S, IND3S, USA3S

February 12–13, 2021

Non-preview instances: CS1, CS6, CS8, CS10, CS16, CS18, CS22, CS24, CS29, CS33, CS40, CS43, CS50, CS52, CS58, CS60, CS62, CS64, CS65, CS66, CS68, CS70, CS73, CS86, CS89, CS90, CS92, CS94, CS98, CS100, CS101, CS102, CS110, CS114, CS115, CS117, CS119, CS121, CS132, CS148, CS151, CS162, CS165, CS173, AUS4S, IND2S, USA2S

Between now and January 7, 2021, we’ll route all sandbox requests to preview instances. If your sandbox is complete in time for the major release on January 8, 2021, we’ll upgrade it to the newest version of Salesforce.

On January 8, 2021, 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 Spring ’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 January 7, 2021, to decide if you would like your sandbox to take part in the Spring ’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?

Create for Winter ’21 (no Preview)

Please wait and submit your request to create after 6:00 p.m. PT on January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC on January 8, 2021).  If you submit your request before this time, your Sandbox may be built on a Preview Instance.

Create for Spring ’21 (get the Preview)

Please submit your request well before 6:00 p.m. PT on January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC on January 8, 2021) so that the sandbox copy completes before the January Sandbox release.  If you submit your request close to the deadline such that the copy doesn’t complete or after the deadline, your Sandbox will be built on a Non-Preview Instance.

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.

Screenshot of sandbox instances
The sandbox list page

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.

For Sandboxes on Preview Instances

CS2, CS4, CS5, CS7, CS9, CS11, CS14, CS15, CS17, CS19, CS20, CS21, CS23, CS25, CS26, CS27, CS28, CS31, CS32, CS34, CS35, CS36, CS37, CS41, CS42, CS44, CS45, CS47, CS53, CS57, CS59, CS61, CS63, CS67, CS69, CS72, CS74, CS75, CS76, CS77, CS78, CS79, CS80, CS81, CS84, CS87, CS88, CS91, CS95, CS96, CS97, CS99, CS105, CS106, CS107, CS108, CS109, CS111, CS112, CS113, CS116, CS122, CS123, CS124, CS125, CS126, CS127, CS128, CS129, CS133, CS137, CS138, CS142, CS152, CS159, CS160, CS169, CS174, CS189, CS190, CS191, CS192, CS193, CS194, CS195, CS196, CS197, CS198, CS199, CS201, CS203, AUS2S, AUS8S, IND3S, USA3S

Stay on Winter ’21 (no Preview)

To stay on Winter ’21, we require you to refresh to a Non-Preview Sandbox Instance. Please wait and refresh after 6:00 p.m. PT on January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC on January 8, 2021).  If you refresh before this time, your Sandbox may be built on a Preview Instance.

Upgrade to Spring ’21 (get the Preview)

No action is needed as your Sandbox is already on a Preview Instance. If you need to refresh for other reasons, do so well in advance of 6:00 p.m. PT on January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC on January 8, 2021) to make sure your Sandbox completes before the January Sandbox release. If you refresh after the deadline or your Sandbox doesn’t complete in time, it will be built on a Non-Preview instance.

For Sandboxes on Non-Preview Instances

CS1, CS6, CS8, CS10, CS16, CS18, CS22, CS24, CS29, CS33, CS40, CS43, CS50, CS52, CS58, CS60, CS62, CS64, CS65, CS66, CS68, CS70, CS73, CS86, CS89, CS90, CS92, CS94, CS98, CS100, CS101, CS102, CS110, CS114, CS115, CS117, CS119, CS121, CS132, CS148, CS151, CS162, CS165, CS173, AUS4S, IND2S, USA2S

Stay on Winter ’21 (no Preview)

No action is needed as your Sandbox is already on a Non-Preview Instance. If you need to refresh for other reasons, please wait and refresh after 6:00 p.m. PT on January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC on January 8, 2021) to remain on a Non-Preview Instance

Upgrade to Spring ’21 (get the Preview)

To get the preview, we require you to refresh to a Sandbox instance that will be upgraded early to Spring ’21. Please refresh well in advance of 6:00 p.m. PT on January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC on January 8, 2021). If you refresh after the deadline or your Sandbox doesn’t complete in time by the January Sandbox Release, it will be built on a Non-Preview Instance.

Note: If you decide to stay on the current Winter ’21 release, your sandbox will not be upgraded to Spring ’21 until February 13, 2021.

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.

Upgrade timelines

Prior to Sandbox Preview Window

Date/Time: Anytime until Sandbox Release on January 8, 2021

You can upload AppExchange Packages: From your Winter ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance

You can install AppExchange Packages: To any Winter ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance

During Sandbox Preview Window

Date/Time: From January 8, 2021 through February 13, 2021

You can continue AppExchange Packages:

  • From your Winter ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance
  • From your Spring ’21 Sandbox instance

You can install AppExchange Packages:

  • To any Winter ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance
  • To any Spring ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance

You cannot install AppExchange Packages (from your Spring ’21 Sandbox instance only): To any Winter ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance

After Sandbox Preview Window

Date/Time: Any time after February 13, 2021

You can upload AppExchange Packages: From your Spring ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance

You can install AppExchange Packages: To any Spring ’21 Production OR Sandbox instance

If you have additional questions about your sandbox options in conjunction with the Spring ’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 release on January 8, 2021, 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 6:00 p.m. PT January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC January 8, 2021), we will process sandbox clone requests on a preview instance.

From 6:00 p.m. PT, January 7, 2021 (02:00 UTC January 8, 2021) through February 13, 2021, 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

Sandbox Preview introduction explained

Astro

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