Recently, I read an article about trial versions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 R2 and Visual Studio 2005 that have been released as virtual hard drive (VHD) images. If you have a program like Virtual PC, you can download and run these VHDs without needing to configure a new test machine or worry that they will affect your existing OS or applications.
You can download these trial versions at the following locations:
- Windows Vista Enterprise - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=C2C27337-D4D1-4B9B-926D-86493C7DA1AA&DisplayLang=en
- Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=FFD86643-7C31-42A2-91D8-7D160449B368&DisplayLang=en
- Windows Server 2003 R2 - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=77f24c9d-b4b8-4f73-99e3-c66f80e415b6&DisplayLang=en
These VHDs remind me of my early days at Microsoft. When we were working on some of the editions of Visual Studio .NET 2002, we used to joke that the product was so big that we should just pre-install VS and all of the server applications on hard drives and ship those to users instead of CDs/DVDs. Virtualization technology has come a long way since then, and now something we used to joke about is sort of a reality.