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Luca Jackson
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Windows Server 2016: How to Install and Evaluate the Datacenter Edition


How to Download Windows Server 2016 for Free




Windows Server 2016 is the cloud-ready operating system that delivers new layers of security and Azure-inspired innovation for the applications and infrastructure that power your business. Whether you want to run a small business, a large enterprise, or a hybrid cloud environment, Windows Server 2016 has something for you. But how can you download Windows Server 2016 for free and try it out before you buy it? In this article, we will show you how to get Windows Server 2016 from various sources, including the official Microsoft Evaluation Center, Microsoft Azure, and Windows Server Essentials. We will also provide you with some useful resources and support to help you get started with Windows Server 2016.




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Windows Server 2016 Editions and Installation Options




Before you download Windows Server 2016, you need to decide which edition and installation option suits your needs. There are two main editions of Windows Server 2016: Datacenter and Standard. The Datacenter edition is the most complete edition and includes the new datacenter-specific features (Shielded Virtual Machines, Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica, and Software-Defined Networking) in addition to unlimited server virtualization. The Standard edition is more suitable for smaller businesses or organizations that do not require advanced features or high levels of virtualization. Both editions are available for evaluation from the Microsoft Evaluation Center.


There are also two installation options for Windows Server 2016: Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience. Server Core is the recommended installation option as it is a smaller installation that includes the core components of Windows Server and supports all server roles but does not include a local graphical user interface (GUI). It is used for "headless" deployments which are managed remotely via PowerShell or other server management tools. Server with Desktop Experience is the complete installation option that includes a full GUI for customers who prefer this option. Both installation options can be downloaded as ISO files from the Microsoft Evaluation Center.


Windows Server 2016 Evaluation Center




The easiest way to download Windows Server 2016 for free is to visit the . Here you can register with your email address and then download the ISO file for either the Datacenter or Standard edition of Windows Server 2016. You can also choose from different languages such as English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish. The ISO file size is about 5 GB and you will need a DVD burner or a USB flash drive to create a bootable media.


After you download the ISO file, you can install Windows Server 2016 on your physical or virtual machine. You will need to activate your evaluation version over the internet in the first 10 days to avoid automatic shutdown. The evaluation version will expire in 180 days, after which you can convert it to a retail version or reinstall a new evaluation version. To install the latest servicing package, go to the and search for "Windows Server 2016".


Windows Server 2016 on Microsoft Azure




Another way to download Windows Server 2016 for free is to run it on , the cloud computing platform that offers a wide range of services and solutions. Azure allows you to create, deploy, and manage Windows Server 2016 virtual machines in minutes, without any upfront costs or hardware maintenance. You can also take advantage of Azure's scalability, security, and reliability features to run your Windows Server 2016 workloads in the cloud.


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To get started with Windows Server 2016 on Azure, you will need to create a free Azure account and then go to the option to create a virtual machine with default settings.


After you create your virtual machine, you can connect to it via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and start using Windows Server 2016 on Azure. You can also manage your virtual machine from the Azure portal or using PowerShell or CLI commands. You can also use Azure services such as Backup, Monitor, Security Center, or Update Management to enhance your Windows Server 2016 experience on the cloud. You can find more information and tutorials on how to use Windows Server 2016 on Azure on the site.


Windows Server 2016 Essentials




If you are looking for a simpler and more affordable way to download Windows Server 2016 for free, you might want to consider Windows Server Essentials. Windows Server Essentials is a special edition of Windows Server that is designed for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. It provides a streamlined and easy-to-use interface that helps you manage your network, data, devices, and applications from a single dashboard. It also integrates with Microsoft 365 and Azure to provide cloud-based services such as email, file storage, backup, and disaster recovery.


To download Windows Server Essentials for free, you can go to the if you want to install it on an existing Windows Server 2016 Standard or Datacenter edition.


After you download the ISO file or the role, you can install Windows Server Essentials on your physical or virtual machine. You will need to activate your evaluation version over the internet in the first 10 days to avoid automatic shutdown. The evaluation version will expire in 180 days, after which you can convert it to a retail version or reinstall a new evaluation version. To install the latest servicing package, go to the and search for "Windows Server Essentials".


Windows Server 2016 Resources and Support




Now that you know how to download Windows Server 2016 for free from different sources, you might want to learn more about how to use it effectively and efficiently. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and support available online to help you get started with Windows Server 2016. Here are some of them:


  • : This is the official site where you can find technical documentation, guides, tutorials, videos, blogs, and podcasts about Windows Server 2016 and other versions.



  • : This is the online forum where you can ask questions, share ideas, provide feedback, and connect with other Windows Server users and experts.



  • : This is the site where you can find curated collections of learning modules and exercises that can help you learn new skills and prepare for certification exams related to Windows Server 2016.



  • : This is the site where you can find information and resources about the various certification paths and exams that validate your knowledge and skills in Windows Server 2016 and other versions.



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