Free Microsoft 365 E5 Pre-Configured Lab

Microsoft has made it real easy for tech guys to have an M365 lab up and running in under 5 minutes! The instant sandbox comes pre-configured with user accounts and sample data. The best part is that it is a 3 months auto renewal subscription as long as you keep using it.

This free sandbox is part of the Microsoft 365 Developer program and is aimed mainly at developers to develop and test their products faster. The subscription comes with the following.

25 M365 E5 user licenses for development purposes with 17 sample users (including the admin account).

Sample users in M365 E5 Dev subscription

Some sample data is loaded into the user’s mailboxes. There are six sample teams, channels, tabs, and chat sessions built around the 16 sample users.

Sample teams in Dev subscription

You also have access to all Office 365 apps, Power Platform, M365 Advanced Threat Protection, EMS and Azure AD.

This developer tenant does not include a subscription to Azure & you cannot purchase paid services / workloads. The tenant is only for developing & testing solutions.

How To Spin Up A Developer Tenant?

Now that you are convinced that the free tenant is a no brainer to check out, how do you spin one up?

Head over to the M365 Dev Program portal and click on ‘Join now’.

Join M365 Dev Program

You will be asked to sign in using a Microsoft account. You can create one if you don’t have one already.

Sign in using MS account

Fill in the country, company name and language of choice. The company name can be anything, say My Company for example.

Company and language preference

Select your primary focus as a developer.

Primary focus as a developer

Select your areas of interest and click save.

Select areas of interest

You are presented with two options now. The first one is a pre-configured sandbox with sample users and data. All you need to enter is the password & Microsoft will spin up the tenant with everything you need. The instant sandbox is a new addition in the Dev subscription.

Type of lab in Dev subscription

The second option will give you a blank tenant and you will have to create the users and data, which will take longer if you are looking for a quick start.

The downside to the instant sandbox is that you cannot customize the domain name in mytenant.onmicrosoft.com. Microsoft will randomly assign one with alphabets & numbers, say 4h6j2b.onmicrosoft.com.

It is not a big deal as it is a lab environment. The manual setup option (second) will let you choose your own domain name.

Type in the admin username & password and select whether you want the same password for all the sample users as well, if you go down the instant sandbox route.

instant sanbox creds page

You will then need to provide your mobile number and get it verified.

Add phone number

And that’s it, Microsoft will have the tenant ready in a couple of minutes. Happy developing!

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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