Microsoft have released an RTM version of the SharePoint 2010 demo machines, available to partners and customers. This is a pair of virtual machines which come with a range of technologies from SharePoint and the Office Suite as well as supporting technologies such as Visual Studio 2010 and Office Communication Server 2007 R2.

It’s preconfigured with demo users and material so you can get started straight away trying out SharePoint and seeing what the released version of the product can do.

These demo machines come as a 180 day evaluation. At the end of those 180 days, you will need to purchase licenses and activate the products on the machine.

Instructions on how to install and run the machines are on the download page. Just remember that the machine is configured with a US keyboard layout. If you’re using a UK configured keyboard, you’ll need to use “ instead of @.  

The machines come as a self-extracting archive of .rar files. With previous demo machines in this format, I and others have had issues with the extraction of these files. The problem was that one file hadn’t downloaded properly. If you get an error when trying to run the .exe file to extract the archive, check the file properties and compare the sizes. All except the last file should have identical file sizes. If one shows a size which is slightly less than the others, redownload that piece and the extraction should work.