The Student Guide to Setting Up the Windows 8 & Windows Phone Dev Environment

To develop Windows Phone or Windows 8 applications, you need to be running Windows 8. Here are instructions to either install Windows 8.1 as your native OS, or install a virtual machine on your OS to run Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio.


So you want to build a Windows 8 or Windows Phone app. Well, before you jump into the code, you need to get your dev machine ready to play! Don’t know all that much about Windows 8.1, Visual Studio, or App SDKs? Well you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know to set up your app dev environment.

Important Note for Windows Phone development: When developing for Windows Phone you must either 1) run Windows 8 as your native OS, or 2) run it in a virtual machine, but test the app on an actual phone. You CANNOT run the Windows Phone emulator (used to test the app you’re making) on a virtual machine. For full system requirements to run the emulator with Windows 8 as your native OS, see:

To get your dev environment set up, simply follow the steps below. Mac users skip to the end, there’s information for you too!


Download and Install Windows 8.1 from DreamSpark Premium:


Search for Windows 8 Pro 64-bit and download


Search for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Professional and download/install


For Windows Phone development: Search for and download/install Microsoft Windows Phone SDK 8.0

And that’s it! Your environment is now set up for development. Be sure to submit your apps to Code Kwondo and Imagine Cup when you’ve published them!

Did you get stuck? Below are some great installation guides to help you.


For information on how to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 installation:

For information on how to install Windows 8 on a VHD (Virtual Hard Drive/Machine):

For information on how to install Windows 8 from ISO/DVD:

For information on how to install Windows 8 from USB:


No fear, even Mac users can develop for Windows Phone and Windows 8! If you are using a Mac you have two options: run the OS and Developer Tools in a Virtual Machine OR use Boot Camp to install as separate bootable partition.

For information on how to install Windows on Mac based devices, please see:

Boot Camp:


Great tutorial for developing Windows Phone apps on a Mac:

Have fun!

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