Microsoft surprises developers with special Windows 11 VMs

Windows 11 logo on a blue, folded backdrop
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has quietly rolled out new Windows 11 Enterprise VMs designed to help developers build apps and services for the company’s new operating system (OS).

The download appeared recently on a web page that originally hosted Windows 10 development environments. Strangely, the title of the page remains unchanged, despite the fact Windows 10 VMs are no longer available.

Available for VMware, Hyper-V, VirtualBox and Parallels hypervisors, the new VMs come pre-packaged with everything a developer might need to build a Windows 11 application, from coding environments and samples to SDKs.

Windows 11 VMs for devs

Although Microsoft has made no official communications about the new Windows 11 VMs, a little information can be gleaned from the support page.

Apparently, the VMs include Windows 11 Enterprise edition, the Windows 10 SDK, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Windows Terminal. By default, developer mode is also enabled, allowing devs to install unsigned apps for testing.

The main caveat is that the Windows 11 VMs are set to expire on January 9, 2022, leaving devs only a few weeks to play around before the holidays. Presumably, an updated set of VMs will go live after this date.

TechRadar Pro has asked Microsoft for clarification as to why the launch of the new VMs was not publicized more widely, and for the rationale behind the deadline.

Although only a minority of PC owners are currently running Windows 11, the OS will inevitably become the platform of choice for businesses (and many personal users), once the bugs have been ironed out and companies have a chance to source compatible devices.

For this reason, developers are rushing to optimize their old and new software alike for Windows 11, a task that should be made simpler by the VMs now available from Microsoft.

Via The Register

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.