How to Download and Install Windows Server 2008 for Free
Windows Server 2008 is a server operating system developed by Microsoft that provides various features and functionalities for businesses and organizations. However, if you want to try out Windows Server 2008 before buying it, you can download and install it for free using a pre-configured virtual hard disk (VHD) file from Microsoft.
A VHD file is a virtual disk image that contains the operating system and other files needed to run it on a virtual machine. You can use a virtualization software such as Hyper-V, VirtualBox, or VMware to create and run a virtual machine using the VHD file. This way, you can test and evaluate Windows Server 2008 without affecting your physical computer.
In this article, we will show you how to download and install Windows Server 2008 for free using a VHD file from Microsoft. We will use Hyper-V as an example of a virtualization software, but you can use any other software that supports VHD files.
Step 1: Download the VHD file
The first step is to download the VHD file for Windows Server 2008 from the official Microsoft Download Center. You can choose from different editions and architectures of Windows Server 2008, such as Standard, Enterprise, or R2, and x86 or x64. For this example, we will use Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition x64.
To download the VHD file, follow these steps:
Go to the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition x64 (Full Install) VHD page on the Microsoft Download Center.
Select your preferred language and click Download.
Select the files you want to download. You will need to download all the parts of the VHD file, which are split into several .exe and .rar files. For example, for Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition x64, you will need to download these files:
Click Next and choose a location to save the files on your computer.
Wait for the download to complete.
Step 2: Extract the VHD file
The next step is to extract the VHD file from the downloaded files. You will need a software that can extract .rar files, such as WinRAR or 7-Zip. To extract the VHD file, follow these steps:
Open the folder where you saved the downloaded files.
Double-click on the .exe file that starts with WS2008R2Fullx64Ent (or WS2008Fullx86Ent for x86 edition). This will launch WinRAR or 7-Zip and show you the contents of the archive.
Select the VHD file inside the archive. It should have a name like WS08R2_ENT_FULL_Install.vhd (or WS08_ENT_FULL_Install.vhd for x86 edition).
Click Extract To and choose a location to save the VHD file on your computer.
Wait for the extraction to complete.
Step 3: Create and run a virtual machine using the VHD file
The final step is to create and run a virtual machine using the VHD file. You will need a virtualization software that supports VHD files, such as Hyper-V, VirtualBox, or VMware. For this example, we will use Hyper-V, which is a built-in feature of Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions. To create and run a virtual machine using the VHD file, follow these steps: