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Download Ready-to-Run Windows 10 VMs

OK, so I’ll recognize that not everybody has already dug into Windows 10. With that in mind, some admins may be interested to learn that there is a considerable variety of ready-to-run Windows 10 VMs available from Microsoft for download. These evaluation versions expire after 90 days of use, and can support learning, experimentation, and outright fooling around with the latest MS flagship desktop OS. Why not check them out, and see if one or more of them is right for you?

Sources for Ready-to-Run Windows 10 VMs

Here are some sources:

  1. The Windows Dev Center has a set of development environments built around Windows 10 Enterprise that include a raft of stuff — namely, Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation, version 1511 (a Ready-to-Run Windows 10 VM); Visual Studio 2015 Community Update 1, Windows developer SDK and tools (Build 10586), Windows I0T Core SDK and Raspberry Pi 2 (Build 10586.0.151029-1700), Windows I0T Core project templates (Version 1.0), Microsoft Azure SDK for .NET (Build 2.8.2), Windows Bridge for iOS (Build 0.1.160304), Windows UWP samples (Build 2.0.4), and Windows Bridge for iOS samples. It’s huge, too: versions are available for VMware, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels, and vary between 19 and 21 GB in size.
  2. Microsoft Developer Technologies has a Download virtual machines page aimed at developers seeking to test various MS web browsers and versions in VMs that covers a plethora of possibilities. VMs offered include Windows 7 running IE 8-11, Windows 8.1 running IE 11, and Windows 10 running Edge for build 10586 (stable) or 14295 (preview). Hypervisors supported include VirtualBox, Vagrant, HyperV, and VMware (VPC is also supported, but only for older Windows versions, not Windows 10). All items are Ready-to-Run Windows VMs, so there a LOT of them here.
  3. The Microsoft Connect Proof-of-Concept (PoC) Jumpstart pages include a download link for Windows Accelerate, a collection of VMs designed to support test or experimental Windows 10 deployments. Here, you’ll find not only two Windows 10 client VMs for image-building and deployment purposes (these, too, are Ready-to-Run Windows 10 VMs), but also ready-to-run VMs for System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) from which to drive deployment, and Windows Server instances ready to provide necessary infrastructure elements for a substantial virtual network (Active Directory, DNS services, DHCP, and so forth). In many ways, this is the most interesting item in this list, because it offers a way for organizations to set up and learn from a complete virtualized Windows 10 deployment lab.

Here’s the file manifest from the PoC download.
[Click on image to see full-size/readable version]

Be sure to check this stuff out: there’s a lot of valuable capability here worth investigating, and also worth getting to know. Although the VMs are 90-day items, by snapshotting them early in their lifecycles you can always restore those original snapshots when a particular VM expires, and restart the expiration clock. Cheers!

Virtual Desktop