No Windows 8 or 8.1, No ProblemWith Windows 8/8.1, there is a lot of excitement floating around for developers that want to get their feet wet in Windows 8 app development. However, if you plan on building these apps you will need either Visual Studio 2012 on a Windows 8 platform or Visual Studio 2013 on Windows 8.1 platform.
If you plan on building Windows 8.1 apps, you will need Visual Studio 2013. Please note that VS 2013 only builds Windows 8.1 apps, not 8, and VS 2012 only builds Windows 8, not 8.1 as far as I know.Now what if you don't have Windows 8.1, or in my case, you just upgraded to Windows 8.1 and your hard drive crashed? Then you're SOL Jon...since this is a blog about Microsoft Technologies, I took this as an opportunity to play with Windows Azure's Virtual Machines service a bit.
Setting up the Virtual Machine
Back on topic, we want to use a VM to create a Windows 8.1 image, but not so fast -- you can't run VMs in Azure with Windows Desktop OSs, only Server OSs. Surprise, surprise
As a workaround, we can develop Windows 8.1 apps in Windows Server 2012 R2 (or Windows 8 apps in Windows Server 2012) with a few tweaks. Let's get started:
First, we'll need to create a VM with a Windows Server 2012 R2 image:
In your Windows Azure Portal, click +New button -> Compute -> Virtual Machine -> From Gallery
|Create New Virtual Machine From Gallery|
|Select Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Image|
I set my Virtual Machine Size to Large (4 cores, 7GB memory). I haven't had any problems at all, but I would recommend at least a Medium (2 cores, 3.5GB memory) size to prevent any frustration and keyboard smashing from lagging.Once completed, your VM will begin provisioning to finish preparing the image and VM for your use. In the meantime, make yourself a milkshake...you deserve it for taking a step into a new big world. The VM's status will display as "Running" when ready for use.
Setting up Windows Server 2012 R2 for Development Use
|Connect to new VM when Running|
Create New User for Development
After you've logged on, open Server Manager (if not opened already) -> Click Tools in the upper-right corner of the application -> Select "Computer Management"
|Adding New User|
|Adding User to Administrators Group|
|Windows Audio and Windows Audio Endpoint Builder Services|
Change IE Enhanced Security Configurations
|Turning off the IE Enhanced Security|
Update Registry for IE
|Updating registry for IE|
Activate Desktop Experience Feature
|Installing Desktop Experience Feature|
|Restart the VM|
Install Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 and Windows 8.1 SDK
Keep in mind, if you will be developing Windows 8.1 apps, you need VS 2013. For developing Windows 8 apps, you need VS 2012.Install VS 2013 however you like, I used VS 2013 Ultimate edition but you can use the Express edition also. After the installation of VS 2013, you will need to restart your VM again.
After restarting and logging back in with your new user account, download and install the Windows 8.1 SDK from here:
|Windows 8.1 SDK|
Obtain Developer License for App Development
|Acquire Developer License in Project|
|Building Windows 8.1 App|
|Executing Windows 8.1 App on Windows Server 2012 R2|
Final Tips: Saving Compute Charges in Azure and VS Online
Make sure to shut down your VM using the Windows Azure Portal to prevent compute charges. If you shut down from within the VM, the VM will be "Stopped" but still accumulate compute charges. Shut down in the Windows Azure Portal, and make sure the status is "Stopped (Deallocated)" to prevent compute charges, otherwise you'll pay the price.
|TFS is now VS Online|
- Step-by-Step: Building a FREE Windows 8 App Dev Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines (More detailed step-by-step article performing the same process with Windows 8 apps in Windows Server 2012.)
- Build a Windows 8 Developer Environment in the Cloud (Another variation of the above article)
- Windows 8.1 in C#/VB Tutorial (Tutorial to start developing Windows 8.1 apps in C#\VB)