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Amongst the various software applications that Microsoft offers on trial is the Windows Server 2003 R2. It is one of the best operating systems that the company has released and you can download it a free trial here. The fully functional server is worth several hundred pounds.
Up to eight processors can be supported on one server, making it ideal for systems like AMD's next 4x4 gaming platform.
The trial version carries a 180-day limit. You must download, then register your software and later activate it online.
However, as far as I know, you can install it on your machine, work on it for 180-days, which is slightly less than six months, then format your computer and re-install it again.
I doubt that it is illegal since the software does not carry any expiry date unlike, say Microsoft Office 2007 Beta but I can give no warranty of that. Consider it as a theoretical proof of concept.
Microsoft could eventually stop it all and put a time-limit with a set date on the server but I think that even if reformatting your computer is easy to do, the fuss of reinstalling Windows 2003 Server R2 with all its applications twice a year will be seen by many sysadmin as a tedious task not worth doing.