Thanks to Microsoft’s Visual Studio Dev Essentials, you can get a 3-month Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization software for Mac, for free. Microsoft is also offering Visual Studio Community, SQL Server Developer Edition, Windows R Server, Parallels Access and Windows Platform VM as downloads to VS Dev Essentials users. All you need is a Microsoft account to register and get access.
Visual Studio Dev Essentials is a collection of developer tools, cloud services, software and training material that is aimed at getting developers up and running. The tools include Microsoft’s own Visual Studio, of course, along with a free trial of their cloud service, Azure. Other services and tools include analytics tools, 3-month LinkedIn Premium subscription, Xamarin training and more. If you have been developing for a while with Microsoft’s technologies, you would know that some of these apps, like Visual Studio Community and Visual Studio Code, are already available for free. However, others apps, like Parallels Desktop, are paid apps and normally available as a 14 day trial. Even LinkedIn Premium is a paid service. So Dev Essentials provide enough value for any developer trying to get access to the latest tools and services, in one place, for free.
Here is a list of freebies and limited time subscriptions that Microsoft is offering:
- Visual Studio Community
- Visual Studio Community for Mac
- Azure (free account with $200 credit)
- SQL Server Developer Edition
- Windows R Server
- Parallels Desktop® for Mac Pro Edition (3-month subscription)
- Parallels® Access (3-month subscription)
- Windows Platform VM (60 days)
- LinkedIn Premium (3 months)
- Visual Studio Team Services account with five users
- App Service free tier
- Application Insights free tier
The reason behind Microsoft’s 3-month free subscription for Parallels is that some of Microsoft’s tools are not compatible with macOS, so using something like a Windows Platform VM would require a virtualization tool. Even though free alternatives like VirtualBox are available, nothing beats Parallels Desktop in terms of performance and features. Parallels Access, which is also available for free for 3 months, lets you remotely access your computer from anywhere. Even though I don’t have any use for most of the apps and tools Microsoft is offering in the list, I registered just so I could get these 3-month subscriptions for Parallels Desktop and Access and run some virtual machines.