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Windows 7 RC Bi-hourly Shutdowns & Browser Ballot Go Live

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If you use a Windows PC then chances are you've had one or two prompts today...

Both are relatively straightforward, but may have slipped your mind. The first concerns those still sponging off using the Windows 7 Release Candidate. Microsoft has made this clear since April last year, but the 12 month free licence is about to expire with bi-hourly shutdowns now starting as of 1 March.

The most determined users will still find the RC will work until 1 June, but restarting every 30 minutes should sicken the majority of (sane) people by then. Don't sigh. If you haven't made your decision over whether to upgrade or not following a year long trial period then I hope never to wait behind you in a take-away.

Secondly, the controversial Windows Browser Ballot screen goes live today across all versions of Windows for users around the EU. Only those who have Internet Explorer (any edition) setup as their primary browser will see the notice which displays the four most popular alternatives (Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera) along with IE8.

To try and play fair, the five are presented in random order and users will also have the option to see a further seven browsers should they dig a little deeper. These are Flock, Avant Browser, GreenBrowser, Maxthon, K-Meleon, Sleipnir and SlimBrowser and no, I haven't heard of many of them either. My recommendation? I moved from Firefox to Chrome in December and haven't regretted it one iota.

So can we now expect a radical shake-up of the browser space which IE still dominates with about 60 per cent market share? Sadly I think not. Those using IE are often less tech savvy and this screen is likely to prove an irritant they quickly click pass. Then again, I hope not...

Note: Yes, that is the quality of photo Microsoft has released to show the browser ballot screen and no, I couldn't find it within myself to make IE my default browser to trigger the notice and get a higher quality screen grab. There are just some lines that cannot be crossed...

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