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Windows Server 2016 Now Available On TechNet Evaluation Center

Following the official launch of Windows Server 2016 at Ignite, Windows Server 2016 is now available at the TechNet Evaluation Center. There you have multiple download options, ISO and a Nano Server VHD, as well as the ability to evaluate in a virtual machine instead.

There are also a couple of free ebooks you should grab here - the first being Ultimate Guide to Windows Server 2016 and the second is the updated version of Introducing Windows Server 2016.

Here are some of the important pieces of info from the TechNet Evaluation Center.

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.

Built-in Security
Windows Server 2016 gives you the power to prevent attacks and detect suspicious activity with new features to control privileged access, protect virtual machines and harden the platform against emerging threats.

Software-defined Infrastructure
Windows Server 2016 delivers a more flexible and cost-efficient operating system for your datacenter, using software-defined compute, storage and network virtualization features inspired by Azure.

Cloud-ready Application Platform
Windows Server 2016 delivers new ways to deploy and run both existing and cloud-native applications – whether on-premises or in Microsoft Azure – using new capabilities such as Windows containers and the lightweight Nano Server installation option.

For more details, check out our Ultimate Guide to Windows Server 2016.

Choose an edition and an installation option:  

Customers who download the full ISO will need to choose an edition and an installation option. This ISO evaluation is for the Datacenter and Standard editions. 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.

Installation Options:

  • Server Core: This is the recommended installation option. It’s a smaller installation that includes the core components of Windows Server and supports all server roles but does not include a local GUI. It is used for “headless” deployments which are managed remotely via PowerShell or other server management tools.
  • Server with Desktop Experience: This is the complete installation and includes a full graphical user interface (GUI) for customers who prefer this option.
  • Nano Server: New in Windows Server 2016, this is a remotely managed option similar to Server Core but significantly smaller. It begins with a bare minimum package to which you add only the roles or features you need to customize the image. The servicing model for Nano Server is an active Current Branch for Business, and Software Assurance is required for customers to deploy this option in production. To evaluate this option, you can either download the ISO and build an initial Nano Server image, or you can download the Nano Server VHD, which includes an image that will speed your installation process. See  Getting Started with Nano Server for full details.

Before you begin your evaluation, be sure to check out What’s new in Windows Server 2016.

When you complete your evaluation, you can convert your evaluation versions to retail. Also, check out our TechNet documentation to learn how to upgrade or migrate your other existing servers to Windows Server 2016.

Preinstall Information

  1. Review Windows Server 2016 release notes and system requirements.
  2. Register, then download and install the preview. Windows Server 2016 Evaluation editions expire in 180 days.
  3. Receive email with resources to guide you through your preview.

Installation Guidelines

After installation make sure to install the latest servicing package.


The license terms of the Microsoft Windows Server Nano Eval software (“License Terms”) apply to your use of the Microsoft Windows VHD usage.  By downloading and using this VHD software, you agree to the License Terms, and you may not use it if you have not accepted the License Terms. Windows Server Nano VHD software is licensed by Microsoft Corporation.

So far the corresponding downloads haven't appeared in MSDN, but I'll keep an eye out for them.