Microsoft might have discontinued the download pages for Windows Vista RTM Enterprise, and Vista Enterprise plus Office 2007, packaged as virtual hard disks, as the bits continue to be available from its servers, the company is now also offering free trial versions of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise edition. Just as is the case for Vista Enterprise and Windows XP SP2, Microsoft is offering a VHD containing Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise.
"This download comes as a pre-configured VHD and helps you evaluate the new features of Windows Server 2003 R2, the most productive infrastructure platform for powering connected applications, networks, and Web services from the workgroup to the data center," Microsoft revealed.
In order to test drive the server operating system, users will need a virtualization solution from Microsoft, or products with support for Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format. The Redmond company is offering both Virtual PC 2007 SP1 and Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise R2 SP1 as free downloads.
"The Microsoft VHD Test Drive Program provides customers with an enhanced server-based software evaluation experience that's faster, better supported and more flexible," Microsoft added. "Windows Server 2003 R2 simplifies branch server management, improves identity and access management, reduces storage management costs, provides a rich Web platform."
Testers will have to allocate no less than 512 MB of RAM and 10GB of hard disk space to the virtual machine on which they will mount the Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise VHD. In this context, Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise will run as a guest operating system in a virtual machine. Currently, the Redmond giant is developing Windows Server 2008 R2, also referred to as Windows 7 Server, in parallel with the Windows 7 Client. Of course that not only Windows Server 2003 free trial downloads are available from Microsoft. Windows Server 2008 can also be test driven in the same manner, with Microsoft offering the actual operating system, and not a pre-configured VHD.
Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition VHD is available for download.