Claim A Free Windows 10 Virtual Machine - Time Limited Offer
Written by Lucy Black   
Friday, 24 November 2017

Microsoft is hoping to tempt developers to create Universal Windows Platform apps with a free virtual machine that comes preloaded with Windows 10 Enterprise and Visual Studio 2017. Unfortunately, the VM expires on January 15.

The test environment comes with Windows 10, the developer tools, SDKs, and samples. You get a choice of four different virtualization software options: VMWare, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels, and all take around 20GB of space when extracted.

Independent of which vitualization option you select you get Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Enterprise Evaluation; Visual Studio 2017 with the UWP, desktop C++, and Azure workflows enabled.

In addition to Windows developer SDK and tools, the environment also has Windows Subsystem for Linux enabled.




All sounds good so far. Where the story starts to fall apart is that January deadline. Just two months of development time, including the holidays (when obviously you're going to be sitting concentrating on your Windows Universal Platform App rather than anything more festive). And at the end, if you create a killer app, it is just a Windows Universal app, which despite the impressive name, would more accurately be described as "Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile and XBox 1 app", which sounds a lot less Universal.

Many developers avoid UWP as they're not sure how long it will last. Past disasters such as Silverlight and WPF have shown that Microsoft won't necessarily maintain a technology, and UWP is hardly winning the technology wars.

If you do want to create UWP apps, there are better ways than this. For a start, there's the Windows UWP Community toolkit. This is an open-source toolkit that lets you build UWP apps for Windows 10 devices.

If you want access to the development options in the trial without restricting yourself to UWP or to the very limited trial time, there are several other ways that offer longer term access and more resources. For example, there's Microsoft BizSpark. This gives qualifying developers free access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software, and support. BizSpark startups receive five Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscriptions, each with a $150 monthly Azure credit, and the benefits are available for one year.

An even more widely available option (and much less restrictive) is to get Visual Studio Community Edition or Visual Studio Code, both of which are free. This should let you create .NET Core apps, and if you use a web framework such as Angular or React, the freedom to create web apps in an environment that isn't going to time out. 




More Information

UWP Trial Download 

Microsoft BizSpark 

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Windows UWP Community Toolkit 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 24 November 2017 )