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Windows Server 2016 R2 ISO Download: Benefits, Features, and Requirements


Windows Server 2016 R2 ISO Download: A Complete Guide




Windows Server 2016 R2 is the latest version of the Windows Server operating system that delivers new layers of security and Azure-inspired innovation for the applications and infrastructure that power your business. In this article, you will learn what Windows Server 2016 R2 is, how to download its ISO file, how to install it from the ISO file, and how to activate it.


What is Windows Server 2016 R2?




Windows Server 2016 R2 is the eighth release of the Windows Server operating system developed by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was released on September 26, 2016 and broadly released for retail sale on October 12, 2016. It was succeeded by Windows Server 2019 and the Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel.




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Features and benefits of Windows Server 2016 R2




Windows Server 2016 R2 has a variety of new features that are designed to help you increase security, reduce business risk, evolve your datacenter, and innovate faster. Some of the key features and benefits include:


  • Shielded Virtual Machines: This feature allows you to protect any Generation 2 virtual machine from a compromised fabric by using BitLocker encryption and a Host Guardian Service.



  • Nano Server: This is a new installation option that provides a minimal footprint and faster restarts for physical and virtual hosts. Nano Server supports common server roles such as Hyper-V, Storage Spaces Direct, Failover Clustering, and more.



  • Windows Containers: This feature enables you to run isolated applications in lightweight virtual environments that share the same kernel and resources. Windows Containers can be managed by using Docker or PowerShell.



  • Software-defined Networking: This feature allows you to create and manage virtual networks using Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Network Controller. Software-defined Networking also supports load balancing, firewalling, routing, gateway, and other network functions.



  • Storage Spaces Direct: This feature enables you to create highly available and scalable storage clusters using local disks on each server. Storage Spaces Direct supports NVMe, SSD, and HDD devices, as well as erasure coding and storage tiers.



  • Storage Replica: This feature enables you to replicate volumes between servers or clusters for disaster recovery purposes. Storage Replica supports synchronous and asynchronous replication modes, as well as block-level and volume-level replication.



  • Credential Guard: This feature uses virtualization-based security to protect credential information from malware attacks. Credential Guard isolates secrets such as NTLM hashes, Kerberos tickets, and certificates in a secure container that is inaccessible to the rest of the system.



  • Device Guard: This feature uses virtualization-based security to ensure that only authorized executables run on the machine. Device Guard uses code integrity policies to verify the signatures of applications before they are allowed to run.



  • IIS 10: This is the latest version of the Internet Information Services web server that supports HTTP/2 protocol, TLS 1.3 protocol, WebSocket protocol, and other web standards. IIS 10 also provides enhanced performance, security, and management features.



E Editions and installation options of Windows Server 2016 R2




Windows Server 2016 R2 has three main editions: Datacenter, Standard, and Essentials. The Datacenter edition is designed for highly virtualized and software-defined datacenter environments. It supports unlimited virtual machines, containers, and cores, as well as advanced features such as Shielded Virtual Machines, Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica, and Software-defined Networking. The Standard edition is designed for physical or minimally virtualized environments. It supports up to two virtual machines or containers and up to 24 cores per license, as well as the same features as the Datacenter edition except for the advanced ones. The Essentials edition is designed for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. It supports one physical or virtual server and up to two processors per license, as well as simplified management and integration with cloud services.


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Windows Server 2016 R2 also has two installation options: Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience. Server Core is the recommended option that provides a minimal user interface and a smaller footprint. It supports most server roles and features, but not all of them. Server with Desktop Experience is the option that provides the full graphical user interface and a larger footprint. It supports all server roles and features, but requires more resources and updates.


How to download Windows Server 2016 R2 ISO file?




There are two main ways to download the Windows Server 2016 R2 ISO file: from the Microsoft Evaluation Center or from other sources.


Download from Microsoft Evaluation Center




The Microsoft Evaluation Center is the official source that provides free trial versions of Windows Server 2016 R2 for evaluation purposes. You can download the ISO file from the Microsoft Evaluation Center website by following these steps:




  • Fill out the registration form with your name, email address, country, organization, and other details.



  • Click on "Continue" and then select the edition, language, and bit version of Windows Server 2016 R2 that you want to download.



  • Click on "Download" and then choose a location to save the ISO file on your computer.



  • Wait for the download to complete and then verify the integrity of the ISO file by comparing its SHA1 hash value with the one provided on the website.



Download from other sources




If you have a valid product key or a digital license for Windows Server 2016 R2, you can also download the ISO file from other sources such as MSDN, TechNet, or third-party websites. However, you should be careful when downloading from unofficial sources as they may contain malware or corrupted files. You should always verify the integrity of the ISO file by comparing its SHA1 hash value with the one provided by Microsoft or a trusted source.


How to install Windows Server 2016 R2 from ISO file?




Once you have downloaded the Windows Server 2016 R2 ISO file, you can install it on your computer or server by using one of these methods: clean install, in-place upgrade, or migration.


Clean install




A clean install is the method that erases everything on your hard drive and installs a fresh copy of Windows Server 2016 R2. This is the recommended method if you want to start from scratch or if you have a new or empty hard drive. To perform a clean install, you need to create a bootable media such as a DVD or a USB flash drive from the ISO file. Then, you need to boot your computer or server from the bootable media and follow the installation wizard. You will need to enter your product key or sign in with your Microsoft account to activate Windows Server 2016 R2 after the installation is complete.


In-place upgrade




An in-place upgrade is the method that preserves your files, settings, and applications and upgrades your existing operating system to Windows Server 2016 R2. This is the preferred method if you want to keep your current configuration and data intact. To perform an in-place upgrade, you need to mount the ISO file on your computer or server and run the setup.exe file. Then, you need to follow the installation wizard and choose the option to upgrade your operating system. You will need to enter your product key or sign in with your Microsoft account to activate Windows Server 2016 R2 after the upgrade is complete.


Migration




A migration is the method that A migration is the method that transfers your files, settings, and applications from one server to another server running Windows Server 2016 R2. This is the best method if you want to move to a new hardware or a different domain. To perform a migration, you need to use the Windows Server Migration Tools that are included in Windows Server 2016 R2. Then, you need to follow the migration steps for each server role and feature that you want to migrate. You will need to enter your product key or sign in with your Microsoft account to activate Windows Server 2016 R2 after the migration is complete.


How to activate Windows Server 2016 R2?




After you install or upgrade to Windows Server 2016 R2, you need to activate it within a certain period of time. Activation verifies that your copy of Windows Server 2016 R2 is genuine and not used on more devices than the license allows. There are two ways to activate Windows Server 2016 R2: with a product key or with a digital license.


Activate with a product key




A product key is a 25-character code that is used to activate Windows Server 2016 R2. You can find your product key on a label inside the Windows Server 2016 R2 box, on a card that came with your device, or in an email confirmation if you bought it online. To activate Windows Server 2016 R2 with a product key, you need to follow these steps:


  • Open Settings and click on Update & Security.



  • Click on Activation and then click on Change product key.



  • Enter your product key and click on Next.



  • Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the activation.



Activate with a digital license




A digital license is a method of activation that does not require a product key. You can get a digital license when you upgrade to Windows Server 2016 R2 from an eligible device running a genuine copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 or later, or when you sign in with your Microsoft account that is linked to your digital license. To activate Windows Server 2016 R2 with a digital license, you need to follow these steps:


  • Open Settings and click on Update & Security.



  • Click on Activation and then click on Troubleshoot.



  • Select the option that applies to your situation and follow the instructions on the screen to complete the activation.



Conclusion




In this article, you have learned what Windows Server 2016 R2 is, how to download its ISO file, how to install it from the ISO file, and how to activate it. Windows Server 2016 R2 is the latest version of the Windows Server operating system that offers new features and benefits for your business. You can download the ISO file from the Microsoft Evaluation Center or from other sources, and then install it by using one of these methods: clean install, in-place upgrade, or migration. You can activate it by using either a product key or a digital license. We hope this article has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Windows Server 2016 R2:


  • Q: How long can I use Windows Server 2016 R2 without activation?



  • A: You can use Windows Server 2016 R2 without activation for up to 180 days after installation. After that, you will need to activate it or else it will enter a reduced functionality mode that limits some features and displays frequent reminders.



  • Q: How can I check if my Windows Server 2016 R2 is activated?



  • A: You can check if your Windows Server 2016 R2 is activated by opening Settings and clicking on Update & Security. Then, click on Activation and look at the activation status under Windows.



  • Q: How can I update my Windows Server 2016 R2?



  • A: You can update your Windows Server 2016 R2 by opening Settings and clicking on Update & Security. Then, click on Check for updates and install any available updates.



  • Q: How can I uninstall Windows Server 2016 R2?



  • A: You can uninstall Windows Server 2016 R2 by using one of these methods: restore your previous operating system from a backup, use the recovery options in Settings, or use the installation media of your previous operating system.



  • Q: How Q: How can I get help with Windows Server 2016 R2?



  • A: You can get help with Windows Server 2016 R2 by using one of these resources: the built-in Help app, the Microsoft Support website, the Windows Server forums, or the Windows Server documentation.





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