Test Windows 7, 8 or 10 using free virtual machines from Microsoft

Test Microsoft Edge and versions of IE8 through IE11 using free virtual machines you download and manage locally.

Connectix, a company known for their x86 emulator pioneering, was acquired by Microsoft in 2003. A few years later Microsoft released Microsoft Virtual PC and Microsoft Virtual Server under their own brand and created a pathway to Hyper-V.

You might remember something like Windows XP mode when Windows 7 was introduced. It was nothing more than a Windows XP VM running Virtual PC but since that time Microsoft is providing their customers VM’s with different software and operating systems.

At the moment Microsoft can provide free to use VM’s with Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows 10. They already have Windows 10 Redstone 3 images available to use.

Usage Instructions

To start, download a ZIP archive for a VM and extract it.
Did you know Microsoft can extract multi-archive zip files natively?
By using 'copy /b *.zip.00? combined.zip' you can combine those 00? files.
Same goes for Linux by using 'cat *.zip.00? > combined.zip'
Import the extracted file in your favorite virtualization platform. Currently there are images provided for VirtualBox, Vagrant, VMware, Parallels and of course Hyper-V.
At the moment there is no Hyper-V image for Edge on Windows 10 RS3 🙂

Although you may be able to get away with less, it is recommended that you assign between 1GB and 2GB RAM to the virtual machines. You would want to run them from RAM instead of disk.

It is also highly recommended that you implement a rollback strategy for any virtual machines that you download. This could be as simple as holding onto the original archive that you downloaded, or you could take advantage of your virtualization platform’s snapshotting capability so that you can start over with a fresh VM at any time and not have to worry about the guest operating system running out of trial time.

Known Issue: Windows 10 virtual machines may display a message in the Settings app that reads “Connect to the Internet to activate.” This is due to a bug and does not impact the activation state or functionality of the virtual machine.

These virtual machines expire after 90 days. It’s recommend setting a snapshot when you first install the virtual machine which you can roll back to later.
The username in your VM is “IEUser”. The password to your VM is “Passw0rd!”

You can grab your VM here.


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