Scott Hanselman

Free Windows 10 development virtual machines for HyperV, Parallels, VirtualBox, and VMWare

February 18, 2021 Comment on this post [9] Posted in Win10
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You probably know that you can download free developer tools for Windows 10 up at the Windows Dev Center here.

Visual Studio Community IS effectively the Pro SKU and is free for Open Source. You may even have a "Take Home" license at your work since the paid version of VS is licensed per-user, not per-machine, so ask your boss if you can install it at home and get the same pro tools you use at work.

BUT, did you know (I did not!) that you can download a free time-boxed Windows 10 Development environment for your Mac, Windows, or Linux machine as a virtual machine?

That means, there's a pre-configured VM for VMWare or Hyper-V or VirtualBox or Parallels up at https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/virtual-machines/ right now. This has been super useful when I wanted to get a build running fast on a system to test something or get started TODAY.

This evaluation virtual machine includes:

  • Windows 10, version 2004 (10.0.19041.0)
  • Windows 10 SDK, version 2004 (10.0.19041.0)
  • Visual Studio 2019 with the UWP, .NET desktop, and Azure workflows enabled and also includes the Windows Template Studio extension
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux enabled with Ubuntu installed
  • Developer mode enabled

These are for eval or quick testing and expire regularly, so check back to get another if you need to. (BTW there are also free VMs for testing IE11 or Edge Legacy but we don't talk about those.)

Free Windows 10 VMs

Again, VS Code is free for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and VS itself is free for Windows and Mac so you may not need these VMs, but knowing there are Windows developer VMs available free for eval is a super useful way to bootstrap development on any machine. Enjoy!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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February 23, 2021 0:45
This also means we don't have to mess with our main development machine... nice.
February 23, 2021 11:52
Make sure to read the licensing conditions for using Visual Studio Community in an enterprise (meaning those with >250 PCs or >$1 Million US Dollars in annual revenue).

One developer downloading the "free" VS Community to work on an enterprise project can put your company in breach. Not something you want to disover during an audit.
February 23, 2021 12:01
since the paid version of VS is licensed per-user, not per-machine, so ask your boss if you can install it at home


Not any more as, according to the product terms, you can only install VS "on any device dedicated to Customer’s use". Obviously this is not your home PC.
February 24, 2021 0:44
I feel like these last few blogs are just to whet my appetite for when I get my first NUC Thursday. And I'm absolutely here for it. Thanks, Scott!
February 24, 2021 2:56

Not any more as, according to the product terms, you can only install VS "on any device dedicated to Customer’s use". Obviously this is not your home PC.


Obviously, this IS my home PC. My home PC is dedicated to the Customer's (mine) use.

What it isn't is my neighbor's home PC.
February 24, 2021 8:10
What would be fantastic would be to get Windows 10 development environment VM for not released versions, like for .NET 6 preview 1 with Visual Studio 16.9 Preview 4.

This would make it safe and fast to test new development environment without impacting our productive one.
February 24, 2021 22:29
What will happen to the VM after it expires?
Can I extend the expiration period by activating Windows license?
February 25, 2021 6:25
Thanks for sharing such a nice info. really nice. !! keep writing
February 26, 2021 8:27
I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what you're trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.