Windows 7 RC Useful for 13 Months

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • downix
    Gah, spare computer... tempting to install.... must resist....
  • 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.
  • Tedders
    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.
  • 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.
  • sassan
    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.
  • Hothr
    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.
  • Marcus Yam
    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.
  • tayb
    I will install it dual boot on my Mac Mini and probably use it as my primary OS on my gaming machine.
  • deltatux
    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.
  • warezme
    hmm WinCrack