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A while back, I received the Windows 7 pre-release version (Windows 7 RC apparently). I was excited to try it, but decided not to install it after seeing that it had an operational time limit.

Now the time is upon us, and Microsoft’s Windows 7 RC will start notifying users on February 15 that it will start shutting down on March 1. On that date, Windows 7 will start shutting down every two hours, and without warning, potentially causing data loss. The Windows Blog has an article that clarifies these points.

After the June 1, 2010, expiration date passes, Windows 7 RC will flag itself as “not genuine” and will have a black background specifying that fact for all the world to see. Not a pleasant thing to have happen, to be sure.

Even for those who decide to upgrade, an in-place upgrade is not possible; this points to another way for possible data loss during reinstallation. (Another reason to store your data on a separate drive, whether a network drive, USB drive, or separate partition.)

This entire thing is nothing less than a time bomb penalizing the Windows customer for using Windows 7 RC. I am relieved that I, for one, did not install it.

I can only imagine the problems faced by a small shop that installed Windows 7 RC on several clients, now being forced to reinstall Windows 7 from scratch. I can also just imagine what would happen if a UNIX release did this…

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