Microsoft has rolled out new free Windows 11 virtual machines, incorporating the latest September 2023 update. These virtual machines, available for VMWare, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels, are equipped with an array of developer tools, SDKs, and samples, enabling swift application development on the Windows platform.
The virtual machines contain an evaluation version of Windows 11 Enterprise, Visual Studio 2022 Community Edition, Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 with Ubuntu, and Windows Terminal, all set to expire on December 19, 2023. “Start building Windows applications quickly by using a virtual machine with the latest versions of Windows,” states the official Microsoft developer page.
Enhancements and New Features in Windows 11 Update
The release of these virtual machines follows the recent Windows 11 “Moment 4” update, which introduced a multitude of features and enhancements. The update marked significant upgrades to Microsoft Copilot, Paint, and the Snipping Tool, aiming to augment user experience and functionality. Microsoft Copilot, now a unified AI, integrates Windows Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Bing Chat, serving as an AI-powered digital assistant within Windows 11. The Paint app received a modernized interface and additional capabilities, including support for transparency and layers. A forthcoming AI image generator, “Paint Cocreator,” will allow users to generate images using text prompts. The Snipping Tool and Photos app also saw AI-driven upgrades, including text extraction, redaction, and background blur options.
User-Centric Developments and Future Plans
Additional features encompass improvements to the Windows Backup app, modernized File Explorer, support for Passkeys, and integration of Windows 365 Cloud PCs. Developers received tools like Dev Home and the ability to configure coding environments in the cloud with Microsoft Dev Box and GitHub Codespaces. Microsoft has also indicated the release of more features in the fourth quarter of 2023, including a new volume mixer, native RAR and 7-zip support, and enhancements to the taskbar and inking experience. The company remains receptive to user feedback, as evidenced by their decision to retain certain legacy features in File Explorer following user backlash.