Microsoft has released a new set of virtual machines for Windows 11, which can be downloaded for free from its official website, as a Windows 11 development environment (WDE).

The Redmond giant uses free virtual machines (VMs) to provide developers with a platform where they can quickly develop applications for the company’s operating system, as it comes with the following dev-focused components and apps:

  • Windows 11 Enterprise (Evaluation)
  • Visual Studio 2022 Community Edition with UWP, .NET Desktop, Azure, and Windows App SDK for C# workloads enabled
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 enabled with Ubuntu installed
  • Windows Terminal installed
  • Developer mode enabled

Microsoft Releases New Windows 11 Virtual Machines For Free

windows 11 free download


It is worth mentioning that the WDE version 2307 is based on Windows 11 build 22621.1992, which is the latest release currently available in the stable channel. The update was recently shipped to users via this month’s Patch Tuesday update (July 11, 2023).

However, it is essential to note that the Windows 11 Development Environment is a set of virtual machines that can be used without activation for free for 90 days. Users won’t be able to activate these virtual machines, as they are evaluation only.

As per the official website, WDE version 2307 is set to expire on October 10, 2023. This means after this date, you will need to activate Windows using a genuine key or update to a newer WDE version.

“If the evaluation period expires, the desktop background will turn black, you will see a persistent desktop notification indicating that the system is not genuine, and the PC will shut down every hour,” Microsoft said about the virtual machines.

Windows 11 virtual machines are available in four different virtualization software options, which are VMWare (workstation and player), Hyper-V (Gen2), VirtualBox, and Parallels (the project does not have an ARM version).

If you download WDE in one of the above formats mentioned above, you will be able to set up a Windows 11 virtual machine with just a few clicks.

Note that downloading one of Microsoft’s Windows 11 virtual machines requires a minimum of 8GB of RAM and at least 70GB of disk space. You can learn more and download Microsoft’s official Windows 11 virtual machines from the Windows Developer Center.


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