It's still 10 months.
Last week the news made the rounds of the Windows 7 RC having a longer than average trial period. Stated clearly by Microsoft is that the Release Candidate install will remain valid until June 1, 2010.
What wasn’t so clearly publicized is the small detail that starting March 1, 2010 there will be bihourly shut downs of any installs of Windows 7 RC.
As Microsoft details on its partner site regarding the shutdown schedules for the beta and RC:
To avoid interruption, it’s recommended that you and your customers rebuild test machines by using a valid Windows operating system before Windows 7 Beta and Windows 7 RC expire. Windows will automatically notify you that the expiration process is about to begin. Two weeks later, your PC will shut down every two hours. For Windows 7 Beta, the bihourly shutdowns will begin July 1, 2009. The software will expire August 1, 2009. For Windows 7 RC, the bihourly shutdowns will begin March 1, 2010. The software will expire June 1, 2010.
So there you have it. While Windows 7 RC will be useful for 13 months as we all thought last week, it’ll be more useful for the first 10 months.
If there’s any confusion regarding what bihourly means – if it’ll be shutdowns every 30 minutes or 2 hours – it’s the longer of the two options, though probably still annoying enough to make one want to upgrade to the final version.
Windows 7 RC is set for a public launch tomorrow. Look forward to it! (Unless you’ve already downloaded it.)