Microsoft has updated its free virtual machines (VMs) for Windows 11, which could offer users the perfect way to test out the new operating system before making the switch.
The previous Windows 11 VMs expiring on July 10th have been replaced with a new set with an expiration date of September 11th. The offer is intended to give developers the opportunity to play around with the operating system, but the downloads are available for everyone.
The latest update currently supports four different virtualization software options: VMWare, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels.
The news comes on the heels of research (opens in new tab) This suggests that Windows 11 is still struggling to attract new users, with Windows 10 continuing to hold the lion’s share of the market.
Sampling Windows 11
The new virtual machines can be downloaded from the Microsoft website (opens in new tab). However, they don’t offer a way around Windows 11’s notoriously strict hardware requirements, and users also need 20GB of free storage space.
Available through September, the virtual machines will give users access to tools such as Visual Studio 2022 with UWP enabled, .NET Desktop, Azure and Windows App SDK for C# workloads, and Windows Subsystem for Linux with Ubuntu set up.
But there’s no reason why non-developers couldn’t also use the VMs to test the new Windows version before a possible transition.
The announcement lands as Microsoft has rolled out numerous updates for Windows 11. For example, Windows 11 users are set to have a revamped search feature with the latest round of updates.
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The new Find Highlights feature promises to “present notable and interesting special moments of each day — like holidays, anniversaries, and other educational moments — both globally and in your region” by clicking or tapping on the taskbar.
And separately, Microsoft is preparing to roll out an update to File Explorer that will introduce a tab system for the first time to reduce desktop clutter and improve multitasking.
These updates are unlikely to matter much to users in Russia, however, as users in the region are reportedly no longer able to download Windows 10 and Windows 11 as the country continues its crackdown on Western technology.
- Interested in upgrading your business to Windows 11? Check out our guide to the best business laptops
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