Traditionally, by the end of each month, Microsoft releases new free virtual machines called "Windows Development Environment." These virtual machines come bundled with multiple developer tools that let app makers start creating apps for Windows. And if you are not a developer, the official virtual machines supplied by Microsoft provide a great and easy method to check out the latest changes in Windows 11.
Windows Development Environment virtual machines are available in four variants: VMware (Workstation Pro and Player), Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels Desktop (macOS). You can use them for free for 90 days, and after that period, you will have to download a newer version (Microsoft updates its virtual machines every month). It is also worth noting that you cannot activate a WDE virtual machine with a license key as stated in the official FAQ section:
Is it possible to activate the Windows license in these images for long term use?
No, these VM images use Windows Enterprise Evaluation Edition and do not support activation with a product key.
To install a Windows Development Environment virtual machine, your PC must have at least 70GB of free space and 8GB of RAM. Also, ensure you have enabled virtualization in your PC's firmware settings (BIOS or UEFI).
Windows Development Environment version 2309 is based on Windows 11 build 22621.2283, which means it includes the latest September 2023 Patch Tuesday updates. Note that since the Moment 4 is currently an optional non-security update, it is not available in WDE—expect Microsoft's virtual machines to get the latest features by the end of November 2023. However, you can download WDE version 2309 and then get the Moment 4 update as described in our "How to install Windows 11 Moment 4" guide.
Microsoft's newest Windows 11 virtual machines include plenty of developer apps and utilities. However, those wanting a clean install without extra software can download the corresponding version here.