First the good news, Microsoft has launched Windows Home Server 2011 to MSDN and TechNet subscribers for testing and evaluation purposes. The bad news, if you don’t have MSDN or TechNet subscriptions then here is your only chance to get a download for WHS 2011 for evaluation.
If you think that there is no hurry and you will get the download later along the line, we want to issue a friendly warning ** Windows Home Server 2011 will not have a downloadable evaluation copy which is something many may have been relying on until now.
The official announcement from a Microsoft blog about the evaluation copy is below:
Today I am pleased to say the online evaluation experience for WHS 2011 is now ready. This provides customers the ability to walk through both client and server interaction freely, or follow a suggested demonstration path with the evaluation manual which will also launch with the online experience. Available 24 hours per day, it provides a super simple way to experience WHS without the need for hardware,
Try it out for yourself on our temporary launching site at http://online.holsystems.com/portals/sbs/whs/. Over the next few weeks we will be updating the WHS ms.com website in line with many of our partner GA’s activities and have a full introduction portal to the online experience.
Let me preempt one immediate question I am sure will be asked – When can I download an evaluation version so I can test at home on my own hardware? The answer to this is that we are not currently planning to release a downloadable evaluation version. Some of the embedded third-party codecs we use within WHS 2011 do not allow us to provide a trial version due to licensing agreements. As a result we can only offer an online experience. We are still working with many of our OEM’s on additional evaluation experiences and may have more information in the future on other ways to trial WHS 2011.