Virtual machines allow users to run different versions of different operating systems. It’s useful if you need to test apps that are in development and you lack the resources to buy a separate system for each platform you need to test on. For those looking for extra security, a virtual machine is often cited as a good way to keep your activity private if a VPN doesn’t suit your needs.
Running a virtual machine is easy. Free apps like Oracle’s VirtualBox and commercial apps like VM ware make it fairly simple to get a VM running. The only tricky part is getting a VM image for the virtual machine. If you need to get a Windows 10 VM image, you have one of two options.
Windows 10 VM Image From Microsoft
Getting a Windows 10 VM image is actually pretty easy. Microsoft has VM images available for developers who want to test apps or extensions in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.
You can download the VM images here. The VM images are available for Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1/ and Windows 10. You can’t select if you get a VM image for Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. Instead, you have to select which version of Microsoft Edge you want to test and download a VM image accordingly.
Next, you need to select which VM platform you’re going to use. Microsoft supports VirtualBox, Vagrant, VMware, and Parallels.
The VM image downloads as a password protected zip file. The password is given on the download page. The VM will be valid for 90 days only since this is meant for testing and not long-term use.
Windows 10 VM Image From A Windows 10 Machine
If the above option doesn’t suit and you want a VM image that runs Windows 10 32-bit or that doesn’t expire after 90 days you’re going to need access to an actual Windows 10 machine running the version of Windows 10 that you want to create a VM machine for. Once you have it, use the Disk2vhd tool from Microsoft to create a Windows 10 VM image.
Run the tool, select the drive that you have Windows 10 installed on (it’s usually the C drive), and select where you want to save it. If you’re creating the Windows 10 VM image from a system that is in use, you’re going to need more space for the VM image. If you have a new system, there won’t be too many user files and the image will be smaller. You will need quite a bit of space on your hard drive or on an external drive to save the VM image.
The file that Disk2vhd generates has the VHD file extension and it can be loaded directly in VirtualBox and VMware.