Yesterday, Microsoft started a virtualization program offering Windows Server 2003 R2, Exchange Server 2007 (beta), and SQL Server 2005 installed as trial software on virtual machines for download. I downloaded the VM with Windows Server 2003 R2 to try this new service today.
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I had to download three files, totaling about 1.5 GB. After decompressing them, I got .vhd file with about 2.7 GB. This virtual machine is for Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. However, I imported it in VMware Workstation. I did not get any error message during import, but had to disable the Virtual Machine Shared Folder Service since it only works with Virtual Server.
After installing VMware tools, I got an invisible mouse pointer. So I changed the configuration and disabled the VMware mouse driver. Everything worked fine, although, the mouse pointer was a bit sluggish then.
The press release states that 20 partners want to distribute their software via the VHD Test Drive program. It is quite probable that we'll see this kind of distribution of trial software more often in the future.
On the one had, this might save time since you don't have to install and configure the software yourself. On the other hand, you miss an important part of the software evaluation process this way. Often the setup and the configuration process is crucial when you are testing a program. In the pre-configured test system everything might work well, but when you setup the software yourself the first time, things might look different.
Via Full of I.T.