Ready to learn how to develop for Windows 8? Well perhaps not quite ready for a dedicated machine or concerned about complicated set-up? Well in those cases the new Virtual Windows 8 hands-on-labs may be just what you need!

What are virtual labs? 

Microsoft Virtual Labs enable you to quickly evaluate and test Microsoft's newest products and technologies through a series of guided, hands-on labs that you can complete in 90 minutes or less. There is no complex setup or installation required, and you can use MSDN Virtual Labs online immediately, free.

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New! Windows 8 Release Preview Virtual Labs

Windows is the premiere development platform. With Windows 8, developers can leverage their existing skills and code assets to create Metro style apps. Step into these virtual labs and learn how to build, share and sell interesting and easy-to-use applications that will make your customers happy. Virtual labs are simple –no complex setup or installation required.

Landing page:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/jj206431.aspx

Windows 8 Release Preview Virtual Labs

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 1 - Creating a Windows 8 Metro Style App - C#
Contoso Cookbook is a series of hands on labs designed to immerse you into Windows 8 Metro style app development. In this first lab in the series, you will use XAML and C# to create the application, implement navigation, download the data from Windows Azure (or load it locally if you don’t have an Internet connection), and connect the data to controls using data binding.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 2 - Orientation, Snapping, and Semantic Zoom - C#
In this lab, you will build upon Lab 1 by adding three important UI-related features to Contoso Cookbook. First, you will customize the layout of the item-detail and group-detail pages when the screen is rotated. Next, you will customize the layout of the item-detail page when the application is snapped. Finally, you will implement semantic zoom in the start page, enabling users to zoom out and see all the recipe groups on a single screen.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 3 - Searching and Sharing - C#
In this lab, you will add support for searching and sharing to Contoso Cookbook. You will get first-hand experience implementing searching and sharing contracts, and learn how these contracts provide a higher level of integration between either two Metro style apps or an app and Windows itself.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 4 - Application Bars and Media Capture - C#
In this lab, you will enhance Contoso Cookbook by allowing users to capture photos and videos of their favorite recipes and share them with other applications. You will also add an application bar that provides shortcuts to these features and learn how to incorporate popup menus into application bar commands.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 5 - Process Lifetime Management - C#
In this lab, you will learn about Process Lifetime Management. Process Lifetime Management, or PLM, is one of the most important concepts for a developer building Metro style apps to understand. Unlike traditional Windows applications, which continue to execute even when they are in the background, Metro style apps only execute when they are in the foreground.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 6 - Settings and Preferences - C#
In this lab, you’ll add About and Preferences commands to the settings pane in Contoso Cookbook. You’ll expose a simple user preference that can be toggled on and off with a toggle switch, and you’ll use roaming settings to store that preference so it will follow users wherever they go.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 7 - Tiles and Notifications - C#
In this lab, you will get first-hand experience with secondary tiles, push notifications, and toasts by adding them to Contoso Cookbook. At the conclusion, users will be able to pin favorite recipes to the start screen with secondary tiles, see tiles updated by the Windows Notification Service, and see scheduled toasts in action.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 8 - The Windows Store - C#
In this lab, you will use the Windows Store APIs to monetize Contoso Cookbook. First you will modify the about box to detect trial versions and include a purchase button if the app has not been paid for. Next, you will use CurrentAppSimulator to simulate a purchase when the purchase button is clicked. Finally, you will simulate in-app purchases by offering Italian recipes as a paid add-on rather than for free.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 9 - Touch and Pointer Input – C#
In this lab, you’ll take a preexisting photo-editing app named Contoso Photo and add touch support to turn it into a fully functional application. You’ll add support for simple gestures such as taps and double-taps, and you’ll build in support for pinch-zooms as well as for dragging and panning. In addition, you’ll make sure all of it works with a mouse so the application is equally at home on devices that lack touch screens. Sound appealing? Then let’s dive into the world of touch and see what it takes to build a great touch-enabled Metro-style app.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 1 - Creating a Windows 8 Metro Style App - JavaScript
In this first lab in the series, you will use HTML and Javascript to create the application, implement the navigation, download the data from a REST based service, and connect the data to controls using data binding.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 2 - Orientation, Snapping, and Semantic Zoom - JavaScript
In this lab, you will build upon Lab 1 by adding three important UI-related features to Contoso Cookbook. First, you will customize the layout of the item-detail and group-detail pages when the screen is rotated. Next, you will customize the layout of the item-detail page when the application is snapped. Finally, you will implement semantic zoom in the start page, enabling users to zoom out and see all the recipe groups on a single screen.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 3 - Searching and Sharing - JavaScript
In this lab, you will add support for searching and sharing to Contoso Cookbook. You will get first-hand experience implementing searching and sharing contracts, and learn how these contracts provide a higher level of integration between either two Metro style apps or an app and Windows itself.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 4 - Application Bars and Media Capture - JavaScript
In this lab, you will enhance Contoso Cookbook by allowing users to capture photos and videos of their favorite recipes and share them with other applications. You will also add an application bar that provides shortcuts to these features and learn how to incorporate popup menus into application bar commands.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 5: Process Lifetime Management - JavaScript
In this lab, you will learn about Process Lifetime Management. Process Lifetime Management, or PLM, is one of the most important concepts for a developer building Metro style apps to understand. Unlike traditional Windows applications, which continue to execute even when they are in the background, Metro style apps only execute when they are in the foreground.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 6: Settings and Preferences - JavaScript
In this lab, you’ll add About and Preferences commands to the settings pane in Contoso Cookbook. You’ll expose a simple user preference that can be toggled on and off with a toggle switch, and you’ll use roaming settings to store that preference so it will follow users wherever they go.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 7: Tiles and Notifications - JavaScript
In this lab, you will get first-hand experience with secondary tiles, push notifications, and toasts by adding them to Contoso Cookbook. At the conclusion, users will be able to pin favorite recipes to the start screen with secondary tiles, see tiles updated by the Windows Notification Service, and see scheduled toasts in action.

· MSDN Virtual Lab: Windows 8: Lab 8: The Windows Store - JavaScript
In this lab, you will use the Windows Store APIs to monetize Contoso Cookbook. First you will modify the about box to detect trial versions and include a purchase button if the app has not been paid for. Next, you will use CurrentAppSimulator to simulate a purchase when the purchase button is clicked. Finally, you will simulate in-app purchases by offering Italian recipes as a paid add-on rather than for free.