Microsoft is providing excellent test drive program for major Server Operating Systems and Enterprise Applications by providing free VHD files download. These pre installed and configured working OS and Applications are available for testing/evaluating purpose for Hyper-V servers. VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) files can be downloaded from official site and just imported to Hyper-V server virtualization software. The latest and famous Exchange 2010 SP1 for Windows 2008, System Center Configuration Manager v.Next on Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange 2007 and more VHD files are available for download.
Obviously these products are for testing and evaluating purpose only,which work maximum 180 days. Once you import these VHD files to Hyper-V server then you will get a fully functional server with main application. This helps in saving the time and internet bandwidth by not downloading the OS, Application and configuring them.
Though Microsoft Virtual PC supports VHD files but these server versions can’t be used with MS Virtual PC desktop virtualization software in normal PC. These pre configured Operating Systems and Applications require mostly 64 Bit processor and hardware virtualization enabled computers. More over, these VHD files are created specifically for Microsoft Hyper –V or Windows Virtual Server R2 server virtualization products.
The complete and available free Microsoft VHD Test Drive program page is here.
Interested Free Microsoft VHD Download ( for Hyper – V Server)
- System Center Configuration Manager v.Next on Windows Server 2008 R2
- Exchange Server 2010 SP1 for Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition x64 – Full Install
- Exchange Server 2007 SP1 for Windows Server 2008
- SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Evaluation on Windows Server 2008
For Windows Virtual Server R2
- Exchange Server 2007 SP1 for Windows Server 2003 R2
- System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 for Windows Server 2003 R2
- System Center Essentials 2007 SP1 for Windows Server 2003 R2
I’m thinking to convert one of these above VHD file to VMDK and run it in VMware workstation or VMware ESXi server. It’s just for fun and testing purpose, also if you already have a testing lab in VMware ESXi, then installing one more testing environment in Hyper-V is a difficult and unnecessary job. I will update my experiment later in this blog.
You can use this great opportunity to work with latest MS OS and Applications for 180 days (6 months) for free by downloading these pre configured VHD files. Keep an eye on specific Microsoft site for future updates, I’m sure they will allow more new and updated Server OS and Applications there.