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Try out Windows Home Server for free

Microsoft announces public download of Windows Home Server release candidate

You can check out our slide show, posted last week, for a rundown of the main features of Windows Home Server. We don't want to award anyone before the final product is out, but we'll say that we came out of the closed beta very impressed. We suspect it will take a while for the non-tech-savvy to really grasp the benefits of Home Server, but thankfully, this week Microsoft threw the doors open to the general public to download and check out its newest Home Server release candidate.

Don't be scared, setting up Windows Home Server is simple. CNET Networks

Go here for the download. You'll of course need a dedicated PC to install it on as well. The activation period is only good for 30 days, so it's not a long-term free trial. We also learned that the release candidate will be only be available to download for a brief period, as Microsoft is apparently very close to sending the final code to off for manufacture. If you're curious about what Home Server has to offer and want to try it before it's out, now's the time.

Update: Microsoft sent us an email correcting what it previously told us. You get 30 days to play with the Home Server Release Candidate without activating it at all, followed by 180 days to use it after activation.