When it announced the availability of the free edition of Windows 7 for testing purposes, Microsoft noted that downloads would be live only as supplies last. It looks like the Redmond-based company just refreshed the stock of supplies, because according to Stephen L. Rose, Senior community manager, Windows IT Pro Client, customers will continue to be able to download a free copy of Windows 7 through December 31, 2010. The move was considered necessary due to the high demand for the Windows Enterprise Trial. With the program now extended, customers have until the start of 2011 to download and test drive the trial version of Windows 7.
“The Enterprise trial is designed specifically for IT Professionals, so that you can test your software and hardware on a final version of the product. In addition, it provides the opportunity for you to become more familiar with the key improvements over previous versions of the Windows operating system, and experience firsthand how Windows 7 can make your PC environment more productive, secure, and manageable,” Rose stated.
All users with a Windows Live ID can access the download. There are no restrictions, but future testers are required to fill a form with their data before they can download the bits. What they will be getting is the Enterprise SKU of Windows 7, namely the equivalent of the Ultimate edition.
“Since the trial software is designed for IT Professionals interested in experiencing the Windows 7 Enterprise on behalf of their organization, we do not recommend that you install this if you are a not an IT Professional or not professionally managing corporate networks,” Rose added.
There are a few details that testers should be aware of. One of the most important is related to activation. Windows 7 RTM Enterprise 90-day trial needs to be activated within 10 days after installation. Users that neglect to do this will find that their copy of Windows 7 will shut down every hour until activation is performed.
“The 90-day Trial is the full working version of the Windows 7 Enterprise, the version most of you will be working with in your corporate environment. It will not require a product key (it is embedded with the download). The 90-day Trial will shut down once every hour when you have reached the end of the 90-day evaluation period. After the 90-day Trial expires, if you wish to continue to use Windows 7 Enterprise, please note that you will be required to purchase and perform a clean installation of Windows 7, including drivers and applications. Please keep this in mind; Windows 7 Enterprise is not available through retail channels,” Rose revealed.
Microsoft Windows 7 90-Day Eval VHD is available for download here.