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One Microsoft trick that you should not do at work

Pssst.. Want to get a free Microsoft operating software legally possibly yours forever? Then read this blog.

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 (opens in new tab). 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.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.