Having been a student, and knowing this for a while, I thought that everyone knew about it, yet it is clear that they really don’t or so many would not be trying to buy Windows 7 Pro from Microsoft for $30.

Just as when Windows XP was being offered to students at a reduced price, Windows 2003 Server was being offered free thru Dream Spark, a service of Microsoft to try to encourage college students to pick up software programming as a profession. There are many things available through Dream Spark, but they are not the most popular versions of software, at first glance.

Right now, the college student can get himself verified as a full time student, and have access to many tools from Microsoft, one of them being Windows Server 2008 R2.

Though you may not need to run a server, what you can do is run it as a workstation, and in doing so, make it work like Windows 7 to about a 99% degree of sameness. Plus if you want to run a server later on, you have all you need to do so.

The “student correspondent” from ZDNet has outlined the process of making your free Windows 2008 Server R2 into Windows 7 in a series of pictures, which you can follow the link to see.

Well, no. It’s actually Windows Server 2008 R2, the server edition based on Windows 7 with additional features to support hundreds of client machines.

But they look the same and they work in the same way. Windows Server 2008 R2 is the latest operating system that Microsoft have developed. It’s pretty much brand new.

Oh – did I not mention that it’s completely free to download, use and install for students?

DreamSpark is actually now available in 135 countries, with thousands of colleges, schools and universities signed up for it. This extends to up to 170 million students worldwide, to cut down on their upgrading to Windows 7 costs.

Then again, those with access to MSDNAA through their academic program already may have access to Windows 7, so no need to do anything!

But admittedly, you might need to spend the first 10 minutes tweaking it or so, but this photo gallery will guide you through it – start to finish.

Gallery
To see the full screenshot gallery, guiding you step-by-step through downloading, installing and configuring Windows Server 2008 R2 into acting, looking and working like Windows 7, head on over here.

Windows 7’s equivalent is Windows Server 2008 R2, but the problem here is that it only runs as a x64 operating system. Though many x64 processors are available on the market, if you have an older machine then it may not be x64; it will be x86. You can run an x86 operating system on an x86 or x64 processor, but you cannot run an x64 operating system on an x86 processor.

The two are identical in theme, user interface, programs and applications and usage. The only exception is that Windows Server is designed for the enterprise, but it’s free for students. So why not ‘convert’ it instead of paying through your ears for a legitimate copy of Windows?

I don’t know if I’d call $30 paying through your ears, but free does sound better than $30, doesn’t it?

The last time I checked Dream Spark ( I am not attending college currently) Windows 2003 Server was also available, so if you have a 32 bit processor, you can use it for your OS and make it like Windows XP SP3, only better because it is free. What you save on the OS you can invest in Window Blinds, and make your copy of Windows Workstation (yes, you can customize the opening screens! …so you can make it say just about anything you want.) look better than Vista or Windows 7.

If you’re a student, you can go for it immediately. If not, you might want to look into bettering yourself at at least a JC, and getting some Microsoft swag while you’re at it.

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Just like the picture above, with Microsoft operating systems, all is not always what it seems…Server or Workstation, the changes to make it so are fairly easy and quick.


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