On May 5th the Release Candidate version of Windows 7 will be made available to the general public—it’s already available to MSDN subscribers—and if you decide to give it a try you’ll have a full year before it expires:
Windows 7 RC, slated for download by MSDN and TechNet subscribers Thursday and by the general public on May 5, doesn’t expire until June 1, 2010, 13 months from Friday, Microsoft confirmed Thursday.
When asked why the company is giving users such a long free pass for the software, a spokeswoman declined to comment.
The date had been leaked more than a month ago, when a Microsoft site temporarily posted a page that revealed other details of the upcoming RC, including a May delivery and no limit on the number of downloads.
“You don’t need to rush to get Windows 7 RC,” the leaked page read in late March. “The RC release will be available at least through June 2009 and we’re not limiting the number of product keys, so you have plenty of time.”
Vista’s RCs had relatively short trial periods, a little over 6 months, so having 13 months to dick around with Windows 7 makes for a nice change. The OS itself has already generated quite a bit of buzz with a lot of folks saying it’s what Vista should have been. I downloaded the beta myself, but never got around to installing it. I’ll be setting up my system to dual boot with the RC version once it’s available.