Microsoft has revealed that the first release candidate of Windows 7 will have a much longer lifespan than previous release candidates, and won’t expire for over a year after its release. PC World
reports that that Windows 7 RC1 won’t expire until 1 June 2010, which will effectively give you 13 months to try out the OS for free.
Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 was finally released to Microsoft’s TechNet and MSDN subscribers yesterday, although the rush to download the new OS apparently brought Microsoft’s servers to their knees. According to ComputerWorld
, attempts to download Windows 7 RC1 from MSDN during the rush resulted in an error reading: "Sorry, we were unable to service your request," while the TechNet download page simply said "We're sorry! The page you were expecting to see has been removed or is unavailable."
For those of us who don’t have access to MSDN and TechNet, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc says on the Windows 7 team blog
that “broader, public availability will begin on May 5.”
Even so, this will still give people a long time to try out the new OS before they're forced to buy the full version.
As a point of comparison, Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 expired on 1 June 2007, just nine months after its release. After the cut-off date, PCs with the pre-release OS would reboot every two hours in order to drive you to purchase a full copy of the OS.
According to Microsoft, the new OS isn’t scheduled for an official release until January 2010, but our sister site PC Pro
reports that Acer’s vice-president Massimo D'Angelo accidentally announced a release date for the new OS during a press event to announce some new Acer laptops. According to D'Angelo, Acer plans to ship Windows 7 machines by 23 October “and not a day before.”
Are you interested in trying out Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 for over a year, or would you rather wait until the full version is released? Let us know your thoughts in the forums