One of the more important resources that you would need when trying to learn a new application, operating system or technology is getting access to the software itself. While some of these applications or software usually comes with a cost, a lot of them are available online for free for a trial period.
In this post, I will show how to get access to Windows Server operating systems and other software evaluations from Microsoft. Although this might sound very trivial for most experienced sysadmins, a lot of students or newbies don’t actually know where to get these resources to learn new stuff.
For this guide, I will show how to get access to a trial version of Windows Server 2016. However, the steps below could also be used to get other versions of Windows Server operating system.
To start, open your favorite browser and go to the Microsoft Evaluation Center and sign in with your Microsoft account on the top right corner. If you don’t have one, I would highly recommend to create one to be able to download or use any of their trial software.
Select Windows Server, click View All, and scroll down to Windows Server 2016. Click the + symbol to expand the selection and give you more information about the software you are downloading, its limitations and other important information.
For the purpose of this guide, we will be selecting ISO file type. An ISO file or ISO image is an archive file that contains a copy of files found on a physical media like CD or DVD drive. This is a more convenient option when we are planning to install the operating system in a virtual machine or a test environment. You can also “burn” or copy the ISO file into a physical media if you would need to install it on a physical machine. Click the Continue button after you have selected ISO.
Complete the required information on the form and click the Continue button.
Select your preferred language. As I have always used English, I wouldn’t have any knowledge or experience if you select a language other than English. Click the Download button to continue.
The download should automatically start on most browsers. If you are using Google Chrome or the new Edge browser, you should see the download progress at the bottom of the page. If not, click the download button again.
Once the download completes, you should have a Windows server ISO file waiting for you in your downloads folder.
As I have mentioned earlier, this ISO file will allow you to install a fully functional Windows server operating system that you can use for 180 days (6 months). If you are testing or you are trying to learn how to manage this operating system, that should be enough time for you to learn it. If you do run out of time, there are methods that you could use to extend the trial period legally which I would probably discuss in some future post. In the mean time, I would be detailing next how to install this operating system. Stay tune.