Windows Server 2016 ISO now available for download, Microsoft offering free datacenter licenses to VMware users*

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 1 2016 (updated on Jan 28 2017) in
  • Windows
  • Hyper-V
  • VMware
  • * Customers pay only the cost of Software Assurance. See also visitor comment below.

    You may recall me doing a bit of Hyper-V testing and demonstration earlier this year, using the impressively-stable Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 (beta) code. I also tested it as a VMware ESXi 6.0U2 VM and found that the speed, performance, and compatibility was excellent, featuring that vaguely Windows 10 UI. Yes, the good parts of the Windows 10 UI, skipping much of annoyance of the Windows 8-like UI that Windows Server 2012 R2 was saddled with.

    The final bits for Windows Server 2016 are now available, and you can try them free for 180 days, even if you don't have MSDN!

    Mary Jo recently published two related article that may be interest to IT Pros and virtualization enthusiasts, since Window Server is highly likely to be in the mix at work and in home labs, even if Hyper-V is not the hypervisor they're using today. I personal prefer to try to keep both running in my home lab, to keep up with the latest advancements, and to stay familiar with both UIs and management tools.


    I've had the good fortune to meet Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott, and I suspect many of you also listen to their Windows Weekly podcast. Here's Mary Jo's first of two related articles to check out:


    It's simple to get that ISO download going, just fill out that basic TechNet form found at this site:

    Download Windows Server 2016 Evaluation 2016

    In my home, instead of the usual Akamai CDN for many Microsoft ISO file downloads, I discovered that the bits were coming from Cox Communications IP address this time around. The speed was a decent 30 Mbps (of my 300 Mbps connection), taking about 15 minutes to complete. Your findings will vary.


    While that's downloading, now you have some more time to read this second article, more enterprise-focused:


    Yeah, you're not likely to have software assurance for your home lab, but still, good to be aware of. Microsoft isn't exactly shy about their efforts to go toe-to-toe with VMware, see also:

    Migrate your workloads to Hyper-V and receive free Windows Server Datacenter licenses

    Jan 28 2017 Update

    Special thanks to jcotton42 for his response under reddit/r/sysadmin:

    This is wrong, you can go to paid using dism: dism /Online /Get-TargetEditions to discover the editions you can upgrade to, then dism /Online /Set-Edition:<edition> /ProductKey:<key> /AcceptEula then reboot
    See more here:

    Somebody out there tested this lately on a Server 2016 evaluatioin? Please drop a response below, so others will know.

    See also at TinkerTry

    Step-by-step Video

    Install and configure Windows Server 2016TP5/Hyper-V on a Xeon D-1540 Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T