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Windows 7 RC Released: License Lasts Full Year

Gordon Kelly


Windows 7 RC Released: License Lasts Full Year

I think there are a great many things for which Microsoft rightly receives abuse (Internet Explorer, Vista, its numerous product SKUs) and others which are wholly unfair (Office 2007, Vista + Service Pack, XP on netbooks) and then there's one where it looks like genuine praise should be handed out: Windows 7.

Today sees the Release Candidate of the next generation OS rolled out to MSDN and TechNet professionals (consumers get it 5 May/via Bittorent now) and there's one very pleasant surprise: the license will last more than year!

That's right, unlike the current beta which expires at the end of August, Windows 7 RC will happily run on a user's machine until 1 June 2010 - a monumentally long trial period for any perspective buyer. Of course there are caveats, the big one being the Release Candidate will not be available for download any more once Windows 7 is RTMed (released to manufacturing). That said it beats the heck out of the usual 30 day trials you'll find attached to most software programmes!

Why such a long grace period? UK Windows Product Manager John Curran explained to me yesterday that it would not only help users to make a truly informed buying decision but that it rewards testers for their feedback during the OS's evaluation period.

Naturally not all is good news though since Curran was also able to confirm to me that the decision was final not to offer Windows XP users an upgrade route to Windows 7 (the architectures are simply too different) and the much heralded XP Mode emulation is definitely for the more expensive professional editions of the OS only.

Interestingly, Curran was more ambiguous when I put it to him that as a gesture of good faith Microsoft should give short changed Vista Ultimate owners either a major discount or free upgrade to Windows 7. For me the lost revenue would be more than made up by the good PR, but perhaps that's me just being optimistic.

Either way, Windows 7 is certainly shaping up to be the best (and most stable) Microsoft platform to date and after using the beta as my primary OS since January I have to say: I wouldn't go back.

Update: Apologies all, I missed out a vital point: there is no upgrade path either from the Beta to the RC or from the RC to the final version. While possible, frustratingly it makes no financial sense for Microsoft to invest in an installation procedure that will never be repeated en masse during Windows 7's lifetime.


Windows 7


April 30, 2009, 8:22 pm

I'll be honest, Windows 7 looks really tempting. But I've switched to Ubuntu, and I love it.

I'll still have to run Windows for school, but Ubuntu does what I need for my personal life.


April 30, 2009, 8:46 pm


just a quick question: is this going to be pushed mainly as a 64bit OS? obviously 32bit for older hardware


April 30, 2009, 8:57 pm

@Ohmz - that's fair. Windows 7 for me is a must have for XP or Vista owners. Ubuntu is a different animal altogether.

@Jay - I'd prefer it if it was, but it will be both marketed equally.


April 30, 2009, 9:08 pm

Is it possible to upgrade from the RC to a full retail version without a reinstall?


April 30, 2009, 9:22 pm

Do I detect Microsoft changing for the better now? Perhaps the recent harse realities of the marketplace have modified thier 'invunerable to harm' attitude.

Anyway,looking forward to the trial here.

As you say Gordon, Ubuntu is different and very welcome, but for me, does not provide the full multimedia flexibility that I need (yet). MS has just been so dominant that software suppliers need time to adapt/adopt to Ubuntu.


April 30, 2009, 9:23 pm

Anyone know if there will be an upgrade path from the RC to the final release? Microsoft have hinted that they wouldn't provide for this and I'm not looking forward to re-installing all my software.


April 30, 2009, 9:26 pm

Update added on the upgrade question. Bad news I'm afraid folks.


April 30, 2009, 9:31 pm

So no RC upgrade path then. I can see how providing an upgrade path wouldn't make financial sense, but how can you expect users to 'make a truly informed buying decision' and then cut off their upgrade path once they decide to buy? Seems like a contradiction to me.


April 30, 2009, 9:31 pm

It's not a "trial", it's a release of the program for testing. It was no more likely to have an upgrade path to retail than the beta was.


April 30, 2009, 9:42 pm

I read last week that there's a way to upgrade from the betas to the RC by changing a value in a setup file. MS just by default want people to install from fresh so that they can test the install procedure, which makes perfect sense. I'd imagine there will be a similar procedure from the RC to RTM, but again it won't be very heavily advertised.

I've been good and resisted torrents all week, and now the MS servers are being so heavily bashed I can't even get into the MSDN downloads. So much for going the legal route!


April 30, 2009, 9:44 pm

@sockatume: Normally I'd agree, and an RC certainly shouldn't be considered a 'trial', but from what Mr. Curran says it sounds like Microsoft have commercial reasons for making the beta and RC so widespread.


April 30, 2009, 9:46 pm

In what way win 7 is better than win xp? aside from aero (which i don't like) and the said perfomance boost.

William Smith

April 30, 2009, 9:47 pm

What's the file size for the RC? I'm stuck on 512k so I fear it's going to take days!!!


April 30, 2009, 9:54 pm

@mjaffk: I suggest you look at Windows 7's Wikipedia page for a full list of new features.

Also, if you're not keen on the Aero interface, Windows 7 and Vista both allow you to switch it off.


April 30, 2009, 9:59 pm

Agree with the comment RE Ultimate customers getting a discount upgrade or the like. I've been thinking that for a while now!! While my main reason for going Ultimate was encryption, I don't think the price difference between HP and U are justified by the additional extra's you get.

Brian ONeill

April 30, 2009, 10:07 pm

You can upgrade from the BETA to the RC, see:


Here&#8217s what you can do to bypass the check for pre-release upgrade IF YOU REALLY REALLY NEED TO:

1. Download the ISO as you did previously and burn the ISO to a DVD.

2. Copy the whole image to a storage location you wish to run the upgrade from (a bootable flash drive or a directory on any partition on the machine running the pre-release build).

3. Browse to the sources directory.

4. Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor like Notepad.

5. Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. For example, change 7100 to 7000 (pictured below).

6. Save the file in place with the same name.

7. Run setup like you would normally from this modified copy of the image and the version check will be bypassed.

Or am i reading this wrong?


April 30, 2009, 11:10 pm

I'm sorry, but what's wrong with a complete format and reinstall? Sure, it's a pain in the arse and takes a few hours to get everything customised the way you had it before, but when you're using a beta version of software (for free) you don't really have a right to complain, in the same way you wouldn't if it all went pear shaped and you lost all of your work. Microsoft has every right to do whatever the hell they like with their software until it is released and people actually start paying for it.


April 30, 2009, 11:14 pm

Its a simple 'get 'em hooked then make 'em pay' scenario as far as I can see.

Meantime in Ubuntuland my upgrade to Jaunty went off without a single hitch. Awesome.


April 30, 2009, 11:17 pm

@Brian. You're reading it right, that's the article I was referring to. I think people are concerned about upgrading from RC to RTM though, not BETA to RC. Let's hope they allow something similar though.

@William: MSDN has finally let me in, file size is 2,413.73 (MB) for 32-bit & 3,119.30 (MB) for 64. Looks like I'll get it in the morning.

@Furic: Ultimate is for business users, for them the price differential is worthwhile. I think it was bad marketing on MS's part that led people to believe getting Ultimate was going to give them something worthwhile. Promising games or whatever, it's not really what people who needed Ultimate required. So I agree Vista Ultimate buyers should get some discount, but at the same time they probably shouldn't have bought it in the first place.

Francesco Mastellone

May 1, 2009, 12:07 am

Of course Microsoft has interest in having a long trial period. With other shareware programs, once you're done with the trial you can simply buy something else. But once you've migrated to W7 while using it for a whole year, what do you do? The answer's easy...


May 1, 2009, 12:32 am

The answer's easy...

What? Hit the torrents for the crack? ;)


May 1, 2009, 3:12 am

Is this like Fermat's last theorem? Francesco was going to post the answer but the text box was too narrow to contain it?

Anyway, the answer's easy... get an Apple ;) Or, it could always be Ubuntu :?

Francesco Mastellone

May 1, 2009, 3:40 am

What? Of course not! You upgrade to DOS =p


May 1, 2009, 4:08 am

provide no upgrade path take away one of the major fun of "testing", every time fresh built just doesn't reflect the real life. not in business not at home, it's not like OEM recovery media, pop in disc, everything back to ready for use, it's reinstall everything. I would like to see how it broke my Beta7000 install in the past couple months


May 1, 2009, 4:11 pm

I have no idea why Linux users feel the need to provide their updates here, the article is simply about Windows 7 and as it&#8217s a &#8220years demo for free&#8221 it&#8217s hard to bend that to bad news.

Quite simply put Windows users don&#8217t give a hoot about Linux and the vast majority never will. In the meantime the Linux users feel the need to keep reminding us that their inferior product is free and that they managed to perform an upgrade without a hitch (obviously an unusual event).

Personally I&#8217m running the Windows 7 beta and so far it&#8217s been very good. However I&#8217m looking forward to seeing how it responds to being fully loaded with application and virus checkers. Will it carry on smoothly or return to the days of not being able to use the PC for 2 or 3 minutes after login?

Roll on October&#8230

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