Many consumers want to forget Windows Vista, Microsoft’s last major overhaul of its prolific operating system. Perhaps Microsoft does too?
Hence, today, it’s offering the brand-spanking new Windows 7 operating system FREE to anyone willing to download and install it on a computer. Try it, see if you like it, seems to be the thinking. This comes four months after opening the beta test to 2.5 million people.
The new ”Release Candidate” version of Windows 7 will expire June 1, 2010, at which point you’ll need to install a paid version. (The official version should be available by January 2010, according to Microsoft.) The RC is pretty much the final version of the software, minus any last-minute updates, fixes and patches. But as any computer user knows, software gets updated and patched long after the official launch. The RC is also the version that other hardware and software companies use to develop applications or make their products compatible.
Windows 7 is supposed to be a simpler, faster new operating system that is easier to figure out than Windows Vista. With Microsoft now allowing anyone to try before you buy, it’s definitely worth a look.
A bit of technical knowledge is needed. The download is an .iso file so it needs to be burned to a DVD and then run like an installation disc. Microsoft’s instructions are HERE.
While I downloaded the beta back in January, I have not played with Windows 7 enough to offer a preliminary review. Gadgetress’ PC Club contributor Ed Schwartz has been playing with the product since January and offers thoughts on his blog. Other reviewers are saying that it’s worth the download.
ComputerWorld.com has a very good guide to the Windows 7 download. The story mentions that the free download will be available to the end of July 2009. And there will be no technical support other than user forums.
Links to more reviews:
UPDATE: As of midnight, the free RC download is now showing up on Microsoft’s site. A full FAQ page is available.
What are the minimum computer requirements? According to Microsoft:
More on Windows 7:
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