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Windows 7 RC Useful for 13 Months

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 37 comments

Get the RC and use it for more than a year, if you want.

Microsoft has officially made available the Release Candidate for Windows 7 to all MSDN and TechNet subscribers. The rest of the public will be getting their chance to download the disc image next week on May 5.

Like all pre-release software, it’s free. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship between developer and user. The user gets to use the software for free in exchange for providing the developer with valuable test data and feedback.

Windows 7 Release Candidate is a little bit different from previous Microsoft pre-release software in its validity period, stretching past one year long. Documentation for the Windows 7 RC says that the OS won’t expire until June 1, 2010 – giving users 13 months of licensed use from software.

It’s a particularly lengthy testing period allowance, given that the Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 expires on August 1, 2009 with bi-hourly shutdowns beginning July 1, 2009.

The longest testing period for a Windows Vista RC was nine months, stretching from September 2006 to June 2007.

Microsoft doesn’t need to give the Windows 7 RC such a long testing allowance. After all, Microsoft has said that the final version of Windows 7 will hit three years after Vista, making it January 2010. A nine month window would have been fine for real testing and feedback purposes.

Given the enthusiast response and reception to Windows 7, however, Microsoft’s motive for giving the new RC such a long testing period could be to get users hooked on using the new OS. The longer the testing window, the longer users will continue using it – and by the time the final version hits retail, that’ll in turn give testers more chances to pony up the cash for the license.

Furthermore, unlike the public beta, Microsoft won’t be restricting the number of downloads of the RC. Is this a case of Microsoft being charitable, or simply just the company’s way of wiping the bad memories of Vista off as many computers as possible? Let us know what you think.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    downix , May 1, 2009 5:06 PM
    Gah, spare computer... tempting to install.... must resist....
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    downix , May 1, 2009 5:06 PM
    Gah, spare computer... tempting to install.... must resist....
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , May 1, 2009 5:09 PM
    I don't care if Microsoft is being charitable or not, it's just good business. It benefits consumers, who'll have a more favorable impression (in turn benefiting Microsoft). Besides, it's unlikely that everybody would wait till June to upgrade.
  • 0 Hide
    Tedders , May 1, 2009 5:10 PM
    I think that the more friendly and open to people they are, the better responses they will get and ultimately a better product will be released.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 1, 2009 5:10 PM
    I have installed RC upgrading from Beta, and so far, it looks good. One nice improvement over the Beta is that you can turn off the UAC, while still having the sidebar visible. I won't wait until June 2010, as soon as rtm is available i will go for it.
  • 4 Hide
    sassan , May 1, 2009 5:10 PM
    Im sick of vista to be honest. It always felt like a new skirt for Windows xp... Wasn't worth the money.

    Windows 7 looks amazing. Going to try out the RC for sure.
  • 4 Hide
    Hothr , May 1, 2009 5:20 PM
    Its a big ol trialware. Once people upgrade to 7 for free, they won't want to go back to Vista or XP. At that time they will turn windows 7 paying customer, or windows 7 pirate.
  • 3 Hide
    Marcus Yam , May 1, 2009 5:35 PM
    downixGah, spare computer... tempting to install.... must resist....

    Why not? That's what spare computers are for -- messing around with! :D 

    I'm probably going to install the RC on my primary machine, which is currently running Vista.
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , May 1, 2009 5:46 PM
    I will install it dual boot on my Mac Mini and probably use it as my primary OS on my gaming machine.
  • 3 Hide
    deltatux , May 1, 2009 6:02 PM
    This is the same as how they give out free licenses to students. Like the selling drugs analogy. First hit is free to hook the consumer.
  • 6 Hide
    warezme , May 1, 2009 6:31 PM
    hmm WinCrack
  • 0 Hide
    The Schnoz , May 1, 2009 6:34 PM
    I love Vista and wasn't that impressed with Windows 7. It's basically just Vista with a different theme and some cool little tricks you can do with your mouse. I had 7 installed for a weekend and immediatly went back to Vista after having some issues with Blu-ray playback, If they can fix these issues, as well as let me use the graphics of my 4890 with the PhysX of my 8800, than I'm sold. I'm not going to upgrade because of ill feelings towards Vista though, I love it and I really dont see what all the complaints were about. I turned off UAC and the security warnings about UAC being off and never looked back.
  • 1 Hide
    ivorycruncher , May 1, 2009 6:46 PM
    Had 7 and went back to Vista? I suppose if Blu-ray was a problem, then it was necessary, but I'm surprised you didn't see a major performance boost. I have an AMD 9850BE quad-core box with 4GB of RAM. I had Vista 32-bit Ultimate on it, and have now put on Windows 7 x64 in a dual-boot configuration. It's possible that upgrading to 64-bit had something to do with it, but my computer is now so fast, I doubt I will ever go back to my Vista partition. If anything, when the RTM release comes out, I'll wipe out my Vista partition and install it there to convert over from the beta/RC build. Other than a single BSOD I got trying to enable the Crystalizer in the Sound Blaster X-Fi driver (which I blame on the beta driver, not Windows itself), I haven't had any trouble at all getting all my apps and hardware to work with it.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , May 1, 2009 7:06 PM
    Oh no, ivorycruncher, now you'll get a million responses about how 64-bit is not faster than 32-bit from angry 32-bit fanbois! But maybe its possible it has something to do with the memory addressing (maybe windows slows down with 4GB and a 32-bit OS).

    I can't imagine its a good idea to put Win 7 RC on a primary-use machine. If I recall, they don't want people upgrading from Beta to RC, and I personally hate re-installing from scratch. It is tempting to fire up my old P4 and give it a go.
  • 0 Hide
    LATTEH , May 1, 2009 7:29 PM
    im definitly going to DL this :D 
  • 0 Hide
    distractor2004 , May 1, 2009 7:34 PM
    I think Microsoft is finally realizing it no longer has the OS market under its thumb and starting to use good marketing strategy. Like it was stated in the article, the longer users have the free copy of Windows 7, the more dependent they'll become. This is probably the only reason Linux even exists outside of business server rooms and enthusiast developer machines. Now I'm wondering if Apple will follow a similar strategy too so I can finally try out OS X =)
  • 0 Hide
    distractor2004 , May 1, 2009 7:37 PM
    I think Microsoft is finally realizing it no longer has the OS market under its thumb and starting to use good marketing strategy. Like it was stated in the article, the longer users have the free copy of Windows 7, the more dependent they'll become. This is probably the only reason Linux even exists outside of business server rooms and enthusiast developer machines. Now I'm wondering if Apple will follow a similar strategy too so I can finally try out OS X =)
  • 0 Hide
    ivorycruncher , May 1, 2009 7:48 PM
    @hellwig

    That's why I said that x64 MIGHT have had something to do with it, but I'm guessing not much since pretty much all my apps are still 32-bit. And btw, I previously had 2GB of RAM under Vista, and upgraded to 4GB (yes, I know it can only address 3GB in 32-bit; I was preparing for x64) because Guild Wars appears to have a bit of a memory leak that flooded my machine into virtual memory after a couple hours of gameplay. It did give me a noticeable speed boost, but it was still sluggish overall. Windows 7 is just way faster, no matter which way you look at it. I also have 7 32-bit on an old Dell Latitude D600 with a Pentium M 1.6GHz CPU and 768MB of RAM. Aside from lacking Aero capability, it runs very well (I dare say even a little better than XP)! I once tried putting Vista on that exact same model of laptop, and it was what I would consider barely usable.

    As for running it on my main machine, I held off putting the beta on it, but the post-beta builds have proven to run very smoothly on my test boxes, and since I had a spare partition on a secondary hard drive (which was actually my old XP installation before switching to Vista), I had nothing to lose by setting up a dual-boot. All I have to do to get rid of it is reset my boot loader and delete the Windows 7 partition. My test boxes are a bit on the weak side, so I wanted to see how it would do on a true custom-built performance PC. Having used it several days now, I'm guessing I'll be running this build until the RTM comes out (maybe even until the RC time-bombs out), and I bet I won't ever have any need or desire to reboot into my Vista partition.
  • 0 Hide
    caqde , May 1, 2009 7:57 PM
    Windows XP -> Vista changes = Better thread scheduling, better driver model, ability to use GPU for rendering desktop items, thread priorities for media/data transactions (Your music won't stop playing because your doing some heavy computation in another program etc.).

    Vista -> Win7 changes = Improved Vista driver model, Improved GPU Rendering of desktop, Improved threaded desktop rendering, changed way desktop handles Graphics Memory.

    Those are some of the major changes I know there are more, but most of the more descriptive changes are usually only understood and apply to programmers and most people don't seem to appreciate/see the changes unless you point them out with examples.
  • 0 Hide
    aznguy0028 , May 1, 2009 8:03 PM
    i think this is a SMART move on M$'s part. they are turning around their negative publicity and everyone benefits. they are going to get more loyal customer with this new practice model and i sure hell will be one of them! finally, they are listening to the users and it's paying off!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 1, 2009 8:09 PM
    I think it's a nice gesture of MS.
    With this it is really being a help to those who want to know more of the OS, without pushing them to activate or register within 3 days.

    Basically, especially in the beginning a lot of illegal versions of the OS are spreading the internet, many of which need that time to be convinced if the OS is good enough.
    Now they can do that with ease of mind, knowing they are not breaking the law, at least not for a year, and still reaping the benefits of the newer OS.
    There's a saying that says:

    If you want to get a product, first reach out your hand to give cash.
    That's a nice gesture. Totally opposite to first demanding users to pay before they can actually have an Os that might not suit their needs.

    It's a bit in the lines of WOW. Download and play WOW for free for a couple of days, after which you need to purchase.

    Users running illegal OSes have no more excuses apart from not having enough cash to pay to buy an OS(which they normally will be able to get in this couple of months time).
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