Development Environment for Windows 8

With the advent of Microsoft’s latest OS, a lot of people are asking how to get setup for developing Windows 8 applications. Here is a short post about getting a development environment for Windows 8 up and running.

Where to find Windows 8?

Full OEM

A full copy of Windows 8 can be purchased at Be careful to only purchase the Windows 8 Pro version and not the Windows 8 version. Only Windows 8 Pro supports developing.


This is the preferred option.  Windows 8 is great OS. This option also guarantees the developer the best environment for developing for Windows 8. Anyone machine running Windows XP SP3, Vista, or Windows 7 can be upgraded. The upgrade cost is currently $40 (until Jan. 31st 2013) at for digital media. Developers can/need to create physical media from the digital media by using the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool in order to create a bootable USB or DVD available at The tool allows users to create a bootable DVD or USB. Typically the USB has been found to be the easiest. Physical upgrade media is also available at the same site for $70 (until Jan 31st 2013).

Evaluation Copy of Windows 8

The evaluation copy can be installed natively, in a virtual machine, or on a bootable VHD. The evaluation copy cannot be upgraded and is only good for 90 days. After 90 days Windows would need to be installed via a clean install. The evaluation copy can be found here The suggested route with the evaluation copy is to create a virtual machine or a bootable VHD. To learn how to create a bootable VHD read this article To learn about creating a virtual machine read this article Please be aware that the virtual machine and bootable VHD methods only available in Windows 7 (Home Premium or higher).

Tools and Resources

Once Windows 8 is installed visit and to download Visual Studio 2012 and other tools and resources for developing for Windows 8.

5 thoughts on “Development Environment for Windows 8

  1. Whats the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro version? Is it just the the pro version comes with the VS2012 express?

    Is it possible to install VS 2012 on the normal version for development?

    Is there any particular reason to get the pro version.

    • The difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro is strictly features. Windows 8 does not include features required for developing WinRT applications. I don’t know if it can install VS2012 or not, but it will not allow you to debug the applications you develop. Microsoft is trying to get the entire world on Windows 8 Pro, so I don’t really understand why plain version of Windows 8 even exists. Windows 8 does NOT include VS2012, but you can download it at the link included in this blog post. Hope this helps.

    • Windows 8 Pro 32-Bit will work great! If you have a 64-bit machine make sure to use the 64-bit version because it will enable use of more RAM and CPU usage. However, if you only have a 32-bit machine you still be able to use all of the development tools and packages available.

  2. Pingback: Session 12 of the WinRT Development Class – Hackathon Results and Prize Giveaways (Links to All Class Materials & Recordings) | //InterKnowlogy/ Blogs

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