Microsoft doesn’t present Home windows 10 VM photos to builders

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Enlarge / Image not found: Why did it take Microsoft five days (and more) to upload new developer VM images for non-Hyper-V platforms?

Update 7:50 p.m. EDT: Access to the missing virtual machine images was restored several hours after this article was published. The original story follows unchanged – we’ll update it if we ever get a response from Microsoft.

Original story 4:45 p.m. EDT: Microsoft typically makes Windows 10 Enterprise images for virtual machines available to independent developers through the portal. For some reason, that process failed this month – images are now available for Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor, but are noticeably lacking for competing hypervisors VMWare, Parallels and VirtualBox.

This issue first became apparent to Ars through passionate tweets from Matthew Boyette, an Ars reader and independent developer whose workflow depends on these Windows 10 Enterprise VM images. The images themselves are decidedly short-lived – they expire every month and require developers to use the program to download new, updated images.

June’s developer VM images expired five days ago (July 10th), and despite several days of Boyette’s angry tweets, the VM images are still missing. While VM images for Hyper-V – Microsoft’s own hypervisor – were uploaded to the portal on time, developers who use VMWare, VirtualBox or Parallels to host their virtual machines are still unlucky.


The lack of images poses a significant problem for developers who depend on them. While it’s true that a developer can still download a Windows 10 ISO and install a new VM from scratch, that doesn’t replace everything that the developer VMs offer. On the one hand, a Scratch-installed Windows 10 VM would be unlicensed and therefore not allow certain operating system functions (such as desktop personalization) that can be important for some developer applications.

There’s also an extensive list of preinstalled and preconfigured software and features on the developer image – including the Windows 10 Software Developer Kit, Visual Studio 2019, Visual Studio Code, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (with Ubuntu preinstalled), and more. It is certainly still possible to rebuild the entire environment – but it takes significant man hours on the part of the unfortunate developer trying to do so, along with much additional margin for error on the part of the developer.

Microsoft is apparently specific when it says it is Enlarge / Microsoft is apparently specific when it says that it is “working on uploading” (not creating) the missing VM images. Note that the list of lengths and hashes is completely filled out.

Jim Salter

Oddly enough, at the bottom of the developer image download portal, valid filenames, lengths, and even hashes of the missing VM images are displayed – they are simply not available for download.

Ars inquired about the status of the missing images on Tuesday afternoon. Microsoft’s public relations firm hadn’t responded by Wednesday afternoon, and the images are still unavailable.

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