Microsoft OS's for testing puroses of software - are there any "free use" licenses?

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by tankman1989, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. tankman1989

    tankman1989 Gawd

    Aug 21, 2009
    I'd like to test/compare some software packages, probably 10-15 at a time, on either virtual machines or older desktops or laptops and none of them have OS's of current viability (they have Vista I believe). So I'd like to test anythig from Win 7 onward as well as possibly multiple OS's for the same software to see if there are any issues with different OS's.

    Does anyone know if MS has any programs to get either temp licenses for their software like 7-30 day licenses or any kind of "research" license? I know they used to have Technet which I loved but they seemed to have done awaywith that and the MSDN is outrageously priced.

    I guess I could get refurbished licensed which can cost like $7 each but I don't want to apply for the whole process - if anyone knows about this process i'd like to know how difficult it was.
  2. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

    Mar 23, 2012
    For the consumer OSes, just get the install and don't enter a Key - it will go into 30-day Demo (with a command line option to extend twice).

    For Server, they used to have a 6-mon trial, but you had to request it. I don't know if that still exists or not.
  3. sttubs

    sttubs Gawd

    Oct 20, 2007
    Some people are selling cheap Win 10 keys on this site.
  4. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris [H]ard as it Gets

    Feb 19, 2008
    Install any version of Windows and just skip entering a product key. You have 90 days to activate. Free trial. Just use the "rearm" command to get more time.
  5. zero2dash

    zero2dash [H]ardness Supreme

    Oct 23, 2007
    As previous replies have said, just install the OS and run un-activated. Other than getting a nag screen or a prompt here or there, it will continue to function.
    We don't waste licenses or MAK keys on testing VM's, and I think most other people are the same way.
    Aside from that, you can download enterprise evaluation ISOs from MS themselves, if you really wanted to but there's not really much difference (IMHO) in using your own ISO and leaving it un-activated.
  6. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Dec 15, 2003
    BizSpark takes a few minutes to sign up (if this is for a company) and gives you 3 years (after the 3 years you get to keep the licenses, iirc. The idea is to get startup companies tied into their ecosystem) of access to most of their stuff. It's free, and they don't really verify the company. You used to be able to get damn near unlimited key generations but some people were selling the keys on Craigslist/eBay and they cracked down hard. I think now you're limited to 7 accounts per company with 2 keys each software (so 14 Win7 Pro licenses, 14 Win7 Pro UK licenses and so fourth .. including server). It's great if you're studying for any of their certs as well.

    Otherwise, Microsoft offers prepackaged Virtual Machines for testing. They'll time out after about 30 days, but should work for testing purposes.

    You can find some of them here:
  7. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

    Nov 12, 2001
    You could also sign up for a msdn subscription and get access to the different ms os but it will cost you.
  8. DPI

    DPI Nitpick Police

    Apr 20, 2013
    And guess why they're so "cheap"?
  9. AltTabbins

    AltTabbins [H]ard as it Gets

    Jul 29, 2005
    The ones being sold here and on reddit are unused MSDN and special licence keys. While its a gray area, its still a legitimate key.
    You can buy a lightly more legitimate key from Those keys come with a picture of the actual COA and the ability to have it mailed to you.