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Microsoft releases new free Windows 11 evaluation virtual machines

An image with a colorful Windows 11 logo and dimmed background

Developers and enthusiasts who want to test Windows 11 and its dev tools can download the latest Windows 11 Development Environment (WDE) release, also known as "free Windows 11 virtual machines from Microsoft," from the official website. Microsoft has bumped its virtual machines to version 2304 and set the expiry date to July 18, 2023.

Windows 11 Development Environment includes everything a developer may need to start creating apps for Microsoft's latest operating system. The virtual machines come prebuilt for four virtualization services: VMWare, second-gen Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels (the official method to run Windows on ARM-powered Macs), and they include the following:

  • Windows 11 Enterprise edition build 22621.1555 (Moment 2 Update)
  • 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's virtual machines are free during the evaluation period. On July 18, 2023, the operating system will prompt you to enter a valid Enterprise license key to continue using it. The desktop background will turn black, and the OS will power off every hour.

You can download the latest Windows 11 Development Environment from the official website. Make sure you have at least 23GB of free disk space, and your PC can allocate 8GB of RAM to run the WDE.

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