Microsoft Windows volume license holders can now download and evaluate the release to manufacturing build of Windows Server 2008 R2.
The evaluation bits became available for download via the Microsoft website late last week. General availability of Windows Server 2008 R2 is scheduled for October 22.
The evaluation is good for 180 days, and there is a 10-day grace period to activate the software. The product key is built into the software so all users will be able to activate it by clicking "Activate Now," according to Microsoft Corp.
TechNet and MSDN subscribers also get access to RTM in the form of full bits. This version requires a product key for activation, which is available when the code is downloaded.
Improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2 include better Group Policy features, more efficient power management features, live migration in Hyper-V and other enhanced management features. There will also be new features that go along with Windows 7 that give remote workers better access to the corporate network, such as DirectAccess and rancheCache.