2 min Devops

Microsoft releases free Windows 11 virtual machines

Microsoft releases free Windows 11 virtual machines

New VMs from Redmond are available for developers as part of the latest WDE update.

Microsoft has released a new set of free virtual machines for developers. The VMs run Windows 11 and the company is inviting developers to try the platforms at no cost for a limited time as part of the Windows Development Environment (WDE).

The WDE has been updated to version 2306 and is based on Windows 11 Enterprise SKU with build number 22621.1848, the latest release currently available in the stable channel. Version 22621.1848 is also known as the “Moment 3” update.

Encouraging app development

The Windows 11 Development Environment is a set of virtual machines that can be used without activation for free for 90 days. In fact, users cannot activate these virtual machines since they are evaluation-only.

Developers can download the VMs for free from the official website. The VM configurations offered include those for VMware (Workstation and Player), second-generation Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels. The VMs require at least 70GB of free disk space and a minimum of 8GB of RAM.

Microsoft says the main purpose of this project is to provide developers with all the necessary tools to start making apps for Windows.

Apart from the virtual machine offer, the WDE update also includes the following:

  • Visual Studio 2022 Community Edition with USP, .NET Desktop, Azure, and Windows App SDK for C# workloads enabled.
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 enabled with Ubuntu installed and pinned to the taskbar.
  • Windows Terminal installed.
  • Windows Developer mode enabled.

Introducing Moment 3

It is worth noting that Microsoft is gradually rolling out Moment 3 features. The updated virtual machines have the new Moment 3 features disabled by default, but users can bypass that with the corresponding toggle in Windows Update settings.