Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy is a website for Developers and IT Pros offering free Microsoft training delivered by experts. Follow us on Twitter @MSVirtAcademy

Windows Server 2012 R2 180-day Free Download + Companion Jumpstart Course and Online Virtual Labs

Windows Server 2012 R2 180-day Free Download + Companion Jumpstart Course and Online Virtual Labs

  • Comments 35
  • Likes

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 offers exciting new features and enhancements across virtualization, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, and more. Find out how new and enhanced features allow you to take advantage of even better performance and more efficient capacity utilization in your datacenter by downloading the full-featured free, 180-day trial software at the TechNet Evaluation Center.   

RThe software trial is free, easy to install, and this full-featured download is your way to test out new enhancements in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview including:

  • virtualization features, efficient networking management, new storage capabilities.
  • how to give workers access to data and information across varied networks and devices while keeping costs down.

RGet expert guidance and technical information on these features and more: view our top-rated MVA Jumpstart videos for Windows Server 2012 R2.

RFree, hands-on virtual labs are designed to point out the location of new features, discuss and describe them, and enable you to understand and explain these features to customers. Explore new Window Server 2012 R2 capabilities for Server Infrastructure and Fabric Administrators. Please note: this lab is designed for Windows 7 and newer. 

Useful Resources and information to get started with your free, full-featured Windows Server 2012 R2 Evaluation:

  • What is the purpose of this "Lab" Environment if its differs from Production?:

    IMPORTANT: This is an unsupported scenario and is used in this lab environment only. This command will not work in any other environment.


    NOTE: This computer is configured to allow Shared VHD on a local DAS disk. This is not a support scenario and does not work outside of this lab environment. A Cluster Shared Volume or a Scale Out File Server is required as the storage location for a Shared VHDX.


    NOTE:  You are running in a virtualized Hyper-V server, so you cannot boot the guest VMs. This means you cannot technically do an ONLINE resize


  • @Mihail Stacanov  Thanks for sharing your question.  The purpose of the virtual lab is provide a learning environment where you can get to know new features and functionality.  It’s a sandbox that enables hands-on time with the technology. The scenarios provided are similar to those you would see in production and aren’t designed to be ported to your production environment, rather, they are designed to enable you to take key learnings about the new software and translate them back to your deployment. I highly encourage you to download the free trial version of the software to learn more as well.

  • @ Mihail Stacanov   Please note: this virtual lab is designed for Windows 7 and newer.

  • The "free, full-featured Windows Server 2012 R2 Evaluation" goes to 2012 evaluation, not the R2 version!!!!!

  • Yikes! Sorry about that, and thank you for letting us know. I've updated the link to point to the R2 version.

  • Can this version be converted to a regular non-eval by adding a license key?

  • Link still points to 2012 not 2012 R2

  • I have purchased 3 MS Windows Server 2012 datacenter licenses to install on 3 physical servers. But I cant find anywhere to download the 2012 R2 setup file, this is so frustrating! At least may I know if I download this 180 days trial version and activate with the purchased key?

  • I downloaded the free  VDH format windows server from this website: for MCSA/MCSE self-training, but after following your instructions on how to install it

    "Extract the downloaded VHD file by running the compressed .EXE file.

    Copy the Extracted VHD file to C:\BootVHD\Server2012.vhd

    Mount the copied VHD file as a virtual Drive Letter

    - Right-click on the "Command Prompt" shortcut and select "Run as Administrator"

    - Run "DISKPART.EXE" from the Command Prompt

    - At the "DISKPART>" prompt type the following commands, pressing Enter after each:

         SELECT VDISK FILE="C:\BootVHD\Server2012.vhd"



    I can not even extract the vdh file, please send me step by step instructions on how to install it and train for my MCSE TO THIS ADDRESS:


  • The evaluation version Server 2012 R2 is for Datacenter, if I buy later the license for Standard version, can activated in the evaluation version?

  • Hey I want MOC20410C iNSTALLINGA ND cONFIGURING wINDOWS SERVER 2012 BOOK as a trial version .Can anybody help me out ?

  • Why is there no evaluation of 2012 R2 Std? Can the DataCenter Edition trial be converted to Standard Edition by activated with a Std MAK key?

  • I tried to download the 2012 r2 evaluation. After I selected the iso and ready fill out the form to begin the download. I get an error message below. Try to call MS for help, they just keep run around from dept to dept (pro service, ms store, accounts and billing, back to pro service) Where I can get some help here???

    Server Error in '/en-us/evalcenter/wizards' Application.

    'countryCode' has a SelectedValue which is invalid because it does not exist in the list of items.
    Parameter name: value
    Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

    Exception Details: System.ArgumentOutOfRangeException: 'countryCode' has a SelectedValue which is invalid because it does not exist in the list of items.
    Parameter name: value

    Source Error:

    An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

    Stack Trace:

    [ArgumentOutOfRangeException: 'countryCode' has a SelectedValue which is invalid because it does not exist in the list of items.
    Parameter name: value]
    System.Web.UI.WebControls.ListControl.PerformDataBinding(IEnumerable dataSource) +2733349
    System.Web.UI.WebControls.ListControl.PerformSelect() +49
    MS.Marketing.RegSys.WebControls.PhoneQuestion.DoCreateChildControls() +892
    MS.Marketing.RegSys.WebControls.Wizard.UpdateWizardItem(WizardItem item, Boolean isResponsePersisted) +399
    MS.Marketing.RegSys.WebControls.Wizard.DoWizardItemRegionUpdated(WizardItemRegionUpdatedEventArgs args) +295
    MS.Marketing.RegSys.WebControls.PhoneQuestion.LoadResponse(QuestionResponse response) +232
    MS.Marketing.RegSys.WebControls.Wizard.LoadResponses(WizardResponse wizardResponse) +289
    MS.Marketing.RegSys.WebControls.Wizard.EnsureDataSource() +619
    MS.Marketing.RegSys.WebControls.Wizard.OnLoadImplementation(EventArgs e) +36
    System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +66
    System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +191
    System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +191
    System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) +2428

    Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.8000; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.8001

  • @James Our apologies for the error you experienced when trying to download the WS 2012 R2 evaluation. The Evaluation Center team investigated this issue using the details you provided (thank you) and implemented a fix that should resolve it. They kindly ask you to retry your download and if you continue to have trouble, please email detailed repro steps (using Steps Recorder) to and they will troubleshoot with you directly. Thank you!

  • I tried this morning, and am still getting the exact same error message.

Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment