Suggestions for Windows Desktop Testing Environments

Hello fellow testers! I’m looking for advise on the best approach for Windows desktop testing environments.

Allow me to elaborate. I work as a Test Coordinator at a university and we currently have a very high maintenance setup of nine Windows base units each with a minimum of three VMs on them representing our Win 7 staff/student images and Win 10 standalone installs.

That’s 27 PCs to manage! And for the majority of the time they sit idle; although we have very intense periods of testing when they are all used for days on end. This is not sustainable for us.

We still have a need for physical hardware that people can sit at and that is separate from their personal workstation.

My thoughts are along the lines of virtual desktops or using a service like BrowserStack; although I think the licences for this service maywill be too expensive considering they are not in use most of the time. However, BrowserStack would add the benefit of mobile device testing from a desktop.

I would love to hear your experiences of such things and any advice that you may have.

P.S. This is my first post so I hope that I haven’t missed anything!


How much does it cost you (time and $) and how much cost saving would you be happy with (time and $)?

We use AWS EC2 Windows c4.xlarge which is quite fast and cost only around £0.3 per hour I believe and you can turn them on/off on a schedule using AWS Lambda.

We also use a Heztner EX server with Linux and Virtualbox Windows on it, only €39/m for a beefy box.

Hope this helps spark up some ideas.

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Thanks wojciech,

I don’t have an idea how much money it costs to maintain our current setup but I can tell you that we can spend the best part of one day a week just making sure the VMs are all up to date. It can get quite complicate as we have to comply with the wider University’s security policies.

I should have also mentioned that we are primarily a .NET environment and so management will generally favour Microsoft solutions.