Windows 7 RC 1 out now
The first release candidate (RC1) for Microsoft’s next OS has been released for beta testing. As a beta test, downloading it is free and only requires a valid Windows Live ID (i.e. a Hotmail account will do). Full download instructions are here.
As expected Microsoft is not giving away free licenses of their OS without a catch: this version of Windows 7 comes with two expiration dates:
Watch the calendar. The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, youâ€™ll need to install a non-expired version of Windows before March 1, 2010. Youâ€™ll also need to install the programs and data that you want to use.
You have to give them credit, though. Ten months isn’t that long, but it should be enough to help you decide whether to upgrade to Windows 7 or stick with Vista.