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If you are using a company machine to do your development, you aren't always allowed to be using the latest, greatest operating system. If you are an independent developer, you also might be in a position where you can't upgrade your machine to the latest greatest operating system as well.
What do you do if you want to develop for the latest Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) when your machine isn't even running the latest version of Windows?
One answer is to tap into Azure Cloud Services and do a lot of your development in the cloud. This, however, requires that you subscribe to Azure and potentially pay for those services.
Another option is simply to get the Windows 10 development environment and install it within a virtual machine on your existing machine. By using a virtual machine, you can isolate the development from the rest of your machine, while still allowing you to jump into modern development.
If you've set up a new machine for development, you know it can quickly become a daunting task. After installing the operating system and its updates, you then must install the development tools, SDKs, and any samples you might want to review. This is all followed by another round of updates.
Microsoft has made the ability to jump into development easier by creating a development environment virtual machine that can be downloaded for VMWare, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, or Parallels. This virtual machine comes in at about 20 GB, so it isn't for the faint of heart.
Why is it so big?
Simply put, the virtual machine contains a number of pieces of software. At the time this article was written, it contains the enterprise version of Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update (Evaluation). This is the version you need to do mixed reality development as well as the most recent commercially released. The virtual machine also contains Visual Studio 2017 with UWP, desktop C++, and Azure workflows enabled, Windows Template Studio extensions. This is Build 15.5 of Visual Studio 2017. Because the intent stated was to build Windows UWP applications, the Windows Developer SDK and tools and the Windows UWP samples also are included.
The Windows Subsystem for Linux also is enabled with Ubuntu installed, and developer mode, bash, and containers are all enabled.
In short, the downloaded virtual machine gives you much of what you needed to get started with UWP in a nice packaged virtual machine.
Downloading the Windows 10 Development Environment VMs…
You can access the downloadable virtual machines from this link.
A Note on Licensing…
As with any software, you should review the licensing agreement before taking the time to download. You can find the licensing agreement at this link.
In short, if you don't have all the current software to give Windows 10 development a try, you can download a single virtual machine file. After that, using VMWare, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, or Parallels have everything up and running in minutes!