A super-convenient way to evaluate Windows Server 2008 R2 is to use Hyper-V (or your favorite virtualization product) and create a new VM using the recently published evaluation VHD file.   Use the following instructions for this method:

1.  Download the VHD file.

2.  Use the instructions provided on the downloads page from within Hyper-V to create a new Virtual Machine and import the VHD file.

An alternate method is to “boot” into the VHD file.   For this approach, you’ll need to have either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 as your base operating system as the latest “boot manager” is VHD integration aware.  Please first review the following resources (note that you will use the VHD file from step 1 above and not create your own):

1.  TechNet Edge

2.  Windows Forums

A more advanced usage scenario is to use the original VHD file as a “parent disk” and create a “child disk” or “differencing disk”.   The advantage is that your original VHD file remains unchanged.   Additionally, you may use multiple differencing disks to experiment with varying server configurations.   This approach requires the diskpart system utility.   From an Administrative cmd.exe window, issue the following commands:

1.  c:\>  diskpart

2.  diskpart>   create vdisk file=c:\VHD\child1.vhd  parent=c:\VHD\original.vhd