How To: Try Visual Studio 2015 on an Azure VM

Visual Studio 2015 was announced last month along with vNext and whole host of other web development goodies. You can read all about it on the vNext website:

I'm lead to believe that Visual Studio 2013 and 2015 will co-exist on one machine. However, Visual Studio is fairly essential for me and having a problem with it might be akin to coding without one of my hands, or perhaps being upside down. I'm not quite ready to take the plunge with Visual Studio 2015 on my main machine just yet; however I do want to try it out.

The solution to this rather perplexing dilemma is to use an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) to try Visual Studio 2015 without any risk. If you do not already have an Azure subscription you can get a 1 month trial which gives you £125 of Azure credits to spend on anything ... more than enough to get all warm and cosy with your new BFF:

I've saved the best news for last; there is actually a Visual Studio 2015 virtual machine image you can use to quickly get your virtual machine set-up. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. If you do not already have an Azure subscription, start a trial:
  2. Log into the Azure Management Portal at
  3. Go to New > Compute > Virtual Machine > From Gallery
  4. Search for an image called 'Visual Studio Ultimate 2015 Preview' and click Next
  5. On the 'Virtual machine configuration' page, I recommend a Standard A2 machine and make sure you remember your username and password; there is no way to retrieve these after this screen.
  6. The rest of the wizard's defaults are fine so you can do Next > Next > Finish/Complete. The VM will be created which normally takes about 5 minutes..... time for a cup of tea and a biscuit?
  7. Once the VM is created, you'll get a notification in the bottom right corner and you'll see a 'Connect' button in the bottom area of the management portal.
  8. Once the status of the VM is 'Running', click Connect and you'll be able to remote desktop into your shiny new VM

See a short video of these steps here:

At this point, you are 'down with the cool kids' and able to explore the delights of both Visual Studio 2015 and Azure Virtual machines #happydays.

Cloud Hero Challenge: Share your experience and win a t-shirt and possibly a Surface Pro, Xbox or holiday!

Fancy a free t-shirt and a chance to win a Surface Pro 3, Xbox One or Holiday? if you do this by Friday 19th December, you qualify for the 'Cloud Hero Challenge' where you can win a t-shirt just for entering (this guide qualifies for 'Provision a develop & test workstation with Visual Studio in less than 10 min').

If you share your experience in participating in the challenge, you have a chance to win a Surface Pro 3, Xbox One or a holiday. Sound good?

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