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Microsoft releases new free Windows 11 virtual machines with the August 2023 update

A Windows 11 logo with a gradient background

Microsoft has released the August 2023 update for Windows Development Environment (WDE), its free set of Windows 11-based virtual machines available in different configurations. Version 2308 is now available for download from the official website in four formats for various virtualization software, and it is based on Windows 11 build 22621.2134, the latest cumulative update released earlier this month.

In addition to letting you use Windows 11 Enterprise for free for 90 days, WDE contains everything one may need to start making apps for Windows 11:

  • 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 (still no signs of the Dev Home app).

You can download and run Windows Development Environment using VMware (Workstation Player and Workstation Pro), VirtualBox, Parallels, or Hyper-V. The virtual machine will be available for free for 90 days, after which it will start nagging you with typical things an inactivated Windows copy does (a black desktop background, notifications, and periodic shutdowns). Still, Microsoft stresses that you cannot activate a copy of WDE since it is evaluation-only.

Windows Development Environment version 2308 is valid until November 7, 2023. As usual, expect another update with a new expiry date in the second half of the next month (version 2307 was released on July 25, 2023).

To get your copy of Windows Development Environment, head to the official website and select the format you need. Note that downloading WDE requires a minimum of 70GB of free space and 8GB of RAM. Also, ensure your computer supports virtualization and the technology is enabled in the optional features section. If you are not a developer and everything you need is just to check out what the latest Windows 11 release has to offer, check out the official evaluation images without extra software here.

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