Windows 7 free for a year
By Barry Collins
Posted on 30 Apr 2009 at 11:59Microsoft is effectively giving away Windows 7 free for a year with the launch of the Release Candidate.
The Release Candidate is now available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and will go on unlimited, general release on 5 May.
The software will not expire until 1 June 2010, giving testers more than a year's free access to Windows 7.
"It's available to as many people who see fit to use it, although we wouldn't recommend it to just your average user," John Curran, director of the Windows Client Group told PC Pro. "We'd very strongly encourage anyone on the beta to move to the Release Candidate."
However, Microsoft has previously urged the millions of beta testers to start from scratch, and not simply upgrade the beta, in a bid to replicate the real-world experience of installing Windows 7. Those who are determined not to undergo a fresh install have to follow a workaround published on the Engineering Windows 7 blog.
The Release Candidate includes all the features that will be available in the final version. "The Release Candidate is the near-finished product," Curran said. "It's now just final regression testing and performance enhancements."
Microsoft refused to be drawn on the final release date of Windows 7, sticking to the company line that it will be ready by January 2010, although most observers are predicting a late summer/autumn 2009 launch.
However, Curran believes that Windows 7 has already lifted much of the negativity that surrounded its predecessor. "The positive energy and momentum is quite a bit higher than it was in the Vista timeframe," Curran conceded. "People are excited about Windows 7."
Top five stories on PC Pro:
- Is it worth upgrading a media centre to Windows 8?
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't