Convert student-free Windows Server 2008 R2 into Windows 7

Students users with access to DreamSpark can download and install Windows Server 2008 R2 - and within minutes convert it to a fully functioning (including themes!) copy of what is basically Windows 7.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Have a look at this image. It's Windows 7, right?

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?

Any comments or questions? Feel free to shoot.

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