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In an earlier post I suggested that development environments should be virtual machines and I will probably run mine in Virtualbox 5.0 because this now supports all hypervisors including Hyper-V on appropriate Windows platforms (Pro or Enterprise).  Virtualbox is also the preferred target of Vagrant which we will discuss below. Virtual machines can be copied to the cloud and are therefore easy to back-up and restore. Cloud storage providers may limit file sizes (OneDrive supports 10 GB) so I will have to find the right one or perhaps back-up to my own NAS or even a USB key.

A second challenge is how to reproducibly script installs. This may be overkill for my very personal development machine but in a project with several developers it is essential.

I was helpfully pointed towards Vagrant and Chocolatey. Vagrant lets you script the creation of a virtual machine and Chocolatey

Let’s get Chocolatey!

Chocolatey NuGet is a Machine Package Manager, somewhat like apt-get, but built with Windows in mind.

Here is how you use Chocolatey,

C:\> choco install visualstudio2013ultimate

There are thousands of packages available and a combination of Vagrant and Chocolatey can be used to create your VM and install the applications that you need.

An alternative that can also be used for updating is Ninite.