Yesterday we wrote about the new Beta 3 release of Windows Server Longhorn which is now available for public consumption. That’s right, if you don’t mind playing with pre-release software, Microsoft will give you a working serial number that will work until April 7, 2008. The process of getting a serial number will take you about 5–minutes and will require that you answer a few questions about yourself and technical knowledge.




Today I thought I would give you a look at what Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3 is all about by providing a bunch of screenshots. Click on any of the screenshots below to see a larger version.

—Setup Process—

The setup process is almost exactly what you get when you install Windows Vista. That is definitely good news because it means you enter in all of the information upfront so that you can walk away from the installation.

It took about 18 minutes for me to complete the setup process…

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—Running Windows Server Longhorn—

When you start Windows Server Longhorn it will prepare your desktop for use:

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The first time that you start Windows Server Longhorn you’ll see a configuration screen so that you can configure the settings:

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There is also a very detailed Server Manager so that you can control everything from backups all the way to your storage drives:

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The Start Menu is just like what Vista has to offer, except without the fancy appearance (yes, it does include the handy search box):

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The Control Panel and Windows Explorer both have the same features from their Vista counterparts, such as the integrated search and bread-crumb navigation:

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If a problem occurs Windows will automatically look for a solution. I’m still confused as to what problem prompted this notification for me:

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And lastly…when you lock the computer it has a nice looking screen (instead of the typical Ctrl+Alt+Del window on other Server machines):

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—Conclusion—

This is the first version of Windows Server Longhorn that I have used, and from the few hours of playing with it I would have to say it is surprisingly stable. I expected more errors and issues with drivers, but everything worked smoothly immediately after installation.

Paul Thurrott also wrote a pretty good article about this release of Windows Server Longhorn that details the top 10 new features found in this release. It also talks about the new Windows Server Longhorn Core which offers all of the benefits without the graphical user interface (GUI). This has been something that administrators have wanted for quite some time because on most servers, a GUI isn’t needed. So remember, if you install the “Core” version, there will be no shell, and therefore no Start Menu, Taskbar, Windows Explorer, and more.

How to Get Windows Server Longhorn Beta 3