Windows Server 2003 R2 Beta is now available for download/preview

First - what is R2?

Think of it as an "storage enhancement pack" for Windows Server 2003 SP1. It comes as an additional CD with a set of optional Windows components, mostly for storage management (DFS/FRS, Storage and SAN management, a better NFS implementation), and tons of other improvements.

Where I can read more about it?

This is the starting point:

There are also a number of newly-released documents around features and upgrade scenarios in Windows Server 2003 R2. Read them early - be prepared!

1) Beta 2 Step-by-step Guide for Storage Resource Manager. SRM (which stands for Storage Resource Manager) is a new set of services in R2 that allows an IT administrators to perform a variety of tasks:
- Manage directory-level quotas.
- Manage file screening rules, i.e. blocking files with certain extensions on certain directories.
- Schedule the generation of Storage Reports (for example: Large files, Least Recently Accessed files, Duplicate files, etc) on your server.

2) Overview of the Distributed File System Solution in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2. DFS and FRS had also a number of improvements in this release.

3) Install and Upgrade to Windows Server 2003 R2. This document explains the upgrade strategy from SP1 to R2.

4) Beta 2 Reviewers Guide for Microsoft Services for Network File System in Windows Server 2003 R2. This document details the Microsoft NFS client and server implementation in R2.

5) Print Management Step-by-Step Guide in R2.

How I can try it?

R2 is not shipped yet. Still, you can register to download the Customer Preview (Beta) version from the link below, or order the CD. Check this link for more details: 

The Windows Server 2003 R2 trial software downloads is available at no charge. These downloads are available only in English language versions.
- Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 (360-day trial)
- Windows Server 2003 R2 x86 (180-day trial)

After you have completed the download registration process, you receive an e-mail with a link to the download page and a product key for the software that you requested. The file is in ISO format and must be burned to a CD or DVD before you can install the software on your computer.

The download files are large—between 93 and 125 megabytes, depending on the version you choose—so the download may take a long time to complete. Microsoft recommends that users have a broadband, ADSL, or other high-speed Internet connections to attempt this download.

[minor fixes]

Comments (6)

  1. Mario says:

    Is it just me, but not of the product keys work that I have received from microsoft?

  2. AdiOltean says:

    >> Is it just me, but not of the product keys work that I have received from microsoft?

    Make sure that the base install PID matches the R2 install PID.

    – In other words: If the base install uses a Beta (or eval) PID then the R2 install requires a Beta (or eval) R2 PID.

    – If the base install uses VL PID then the R2 install requires a VL PID. (VL = Volume Licensing)

    Let me know if you still have a problem. Also, please indicate what licensing you have for the base install and for the attempted R2 installation…

    Thanks, Adi

  3. Louis Parks says:

    I’ve got a VL PID (is that what MSDN Universal PIDs are?) for Server 2003 but I saw no place to ask for a VL PID for R2. All I know is that the PID I received when registering for the download doesn’t work. Ideas?

  4. Doug Davis says:

    I’m also having problems with product keys. Downloaded everything anew, recommended SP1, Beta 2 R2. I got three keys so far from Microsoft but each and every one tells me its invalid.

    What are the exact steps I may need to determine if I have the proper key/download match?

  5. AdiOltean says:

    On the Invalid Key issue, please see this post:

    Thanks, Adi

  6. Antimail says:

    If you are an IT administrator that has to manage file servers, you are probably familiar with Windows…

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