Get a developer license
If you are using a Windows 8.1 device to develop or test your apps with Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2015, you need to follow the instructions in this topic to get a developer license. If you are testing on a Windows Phone, then you need to register your Windows Phone.
There is a different approach for development and testing for all Windows 10 devices. Learn how to enable a device for Windows 10 devices.
You can run Classic Windows applications and any apps that the Store has tested and certified without a developer license or registering your Windows Phone. When you run or test an app that has not been certified by the Windows store, this is called sideloading. For example, you might not certify an app that is only internal to your company. (Does the Windows store allow sideloading?)
Developer licenses are free, and you can get as many as you need so that all your test machines have one. If you get one or more developer licenses by using a Microsoft account, you must renew them every 30 days. If you get one or more developer licenses by using a Store account, you must renew them every 90 days, and you might gain other advantages.
When you run or debug an app for the first time on a remote machine or on a device that’s directly connected to your development machine, you're prompted to download a separate developer license for that machine or device. You can't install a developer license on a machine remotely, so you must get the license by using the machine or device itself. After you install a developer license on that remote machine or device, you can install, run, and debug packages that haven't been certified. The developer license on the remote machine doesn’t affect apps that the Store has already certified or desktop apps.
When you run Microsoft Visual Studio on your local machine for the first time, you're prompted to get a developer license. Read the license terms, and then choose the I Agree button. In the User Account Control (UAC) dialog box, choose the Yes button to continue.
After you install a license on a local machine, you won’t be prompted again on that machine unless the license expires (or you remove it) and you try to run an uncertified Store app or create a project. As long as you have a developer license that hasn't expired, you can run uncertified Store apps on your local machine by choosing the F5 key in Visual Studio or Blend for Visual Studio..
You can renew a developer license whenever you're using the Visual Studio IDE. If you're using Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows, choose Store, Acquire Developer License on the menu bar. If you're using a different version of Visual Studio, choose Project, Store, Acquire Developer License on the menu bar.
If you aren’t using Visual Studio, you can get and manage developer licenses at a command prompt by running these commands in Windows PowerShell:
Show-WindowsDeveloperLicenseRegistration. This command opens a dialog box from which you can get a developer license and install it on the local machine. To run this command, you must have a valid Microsoft account. You also must run this command in a command prompt with elevated permissions.
Get-WindowsDeveloperLicense. This command returns an object that has two properties: ExpirationTime and IsValid. ExpirationTime is a System.DateTime structure that contains the date and time when the license expires. IsValid is a System.Boolean that indicates whether the license is valid. You can run this command from a command prompt that doesn't have elevated permissions.
Unregister-WindowsDeveloperLicense. This command warns you that some 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 command in a command prompt with elevated permissions.
The examples show the basic PowerShell syntax:
C:\PS> Show-WindowsDeveloperLicenseRegistration C:\PS> Get-WindowsDeveloperLicense C:\PS> Unregister-WindowsDeveloperLicense
If your computer belongs to a domain, your domain administrator can configure your computer to have a non-expiring developer license so that you don't have to obtain or renew a license by connecting to the Internet. Your computer must be a member of a domain and be running either of the following operating systems:
- Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
- Windows 8.1 Pro.Note If your computer is running Windows 8.1 Pro, your administrator must activate a sideloading product key.
For more information, see How to Add and Remove Apps.
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, we might revoke your developer license. The monitoring process helps ensure the overall health of the app marketplace.
If you have a developer license, you can run Windows Store apps that haven’t been tested and certified by the Store, but you won't benefit from 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 installs apps only through the Store. In other words, if you acquire and run Store apps from sources other than the Store, take the same precautions you normally do when you acquire desktop apps from the web.