Getting a developer license for Windows 8 Consumer Preview

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If you have a developer license for Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you can develop and test Windows Metro style apps before the Windows Store certifies them. Developer licenses are free, and you can obtain as many as you need. You don’t need a Store account to get a developer license, but there might be advantages to having this kind of account. For example, you qualify for a longer developer license if you have a Store account.

Before the Store will accept a Metro style app, you must package it and get it certified according to certain rules. If the Store hasn’t certified a Metro style app, it can’t run on Windows unless you have a developer license. (This restriction doesn’t apply to desktop apps.)

The license is provided on a per-machine basis. After you install a developer license, you can run unpackaged projects on your local machine by choosing the F5 key in Visual Studio, just as you can with desktop apps. You can also install a developer license on a remote machine or device and then install, run, and debug packages that don’t have to be certified. The developer license doesn’t affect the runtime environment, only setup and deployment. The developer license also doesn’t affect apps that the Store has already certified or desktop apps.

If the Store has already certified your app, you can use the developer license to update the app without getting the Store to sign the update.

Acquiring a developer license through Visual Studio

When you run Visual Studio 11 Beta for the first time, you will be prompted to obtain a developer license. Read the license terms, and then choose the "I Accept" button. In the User Account Control (UAC) dialog box, choose the "Yes" button if you want to continue.

After you install a license on a machine, you won’t be prompted again on that machine unless the license has expired (or you removed it) and you try to run an uncertified Metro style app or create a project.

When you first run or debug a Metro style app on a remote computer or device that’s directly connected to your development machine, you are prompted to install the remote debugging tools and a separate developer license on the remote machine.

Acquiring a developer license at a command prompt

If you aren’t using Visual Studio 11 Beta, you can acquire and manage developer licenses at a command prompt by running the following cmdlets in PowerShell:

  • Show-WindowsDeveloperLicenseRegistration. This command opens a dialog box from which you can acquire a developer license and install it on the local machine. You must run this cmdlet in a command prompt with elevated permissions.

  • Get-WindowsDeveloperLicense. This command returns an object that has two the ExpirationTime and IsValid properties. ExpirationTime is a System.DateTime structure that contains the date and time when the license will expire. IsValid is a System.Boolean structure that indicates whether the license is valid. You can run this cmdlet from either a default command prompt or a command prompt with elevated permissions.

  • Unregister-WindowsDeveloperLicense. This command warns you that some Metro style apps will stop working if you remove the developer license from the local machine,. If you choose "Yes" (the default) to confirm that you want to remove the license, the license is removed from the local machine. You must run this cmdlet in a command prompt with elevated permissions.

To run any of these cmdlets, you must have a valid Windows Live ID.

The following examples show the basic PowerShell syntax:

C:\PS> Show-WindowsDeveloperLicenseRegistration
C:\PS> Get-WindowsDeveloperLicense
C:\PS> Unregister-WindowsDeveloperLicense

Detection of fraudulent use

Microsoft can detect fraudulent use of a developer license on a registered machine. If Microsoft detects fraudulent use or another violation of the software license terms, the developer license might be revoked. The monitoring process helps ensure the overall health of the app marketplace.

Microsoft doesn’t monitor the use of apps that the Store has certified. For more information, see the software license terms.


If you have a developer license, you can run Metro style apps that haven’t been certified by the Store, and you bypass the protection that certification provides. A computer on which a developer license is installed might have a bigger risk of virus or malware infection than a computer that acquires apps only through the Store.

See Also


Selling Apps