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7/1/2009
08:12 AM
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Windows 7 Beta Kill Switch Activated

The trial version of Microsoft's next operating system has entered its expiration phase.

Microsoft on Wednesday started the expiration process for the beta version of its Windows 7 operating system.




Windows 7 screen shot
(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Beginning today, users that are still running the trial version of the company's next OS will see it shut down every two hours.

The interruptions are designed to encourage early adopters to move to Windows 7 Release Candidate, a more polished preview version of Vista's successor.

"If you're still on the Windows 7 Beta you should certainly look at giving the Windows 7 RC at try!" Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a recent blog post.

Windows 7 RC will function until June 1, 2010. After that, users will need to upgrade to a full, paid version of the operating system to continue use. Microsoft plans to ship a final version of Windows 7 on Oct. 22nd.

Microsoft hopes Windows 7 helps it recover from the Vista flop. Vista failed to catch on with mainstream computer users and businesses have shunned it outright. Windows 7 is said to be lighter and easier to use than its predecessor. It also includes slick new features such as built-in support for touch-screens and tools that improve everyday tasks like desktop searches and PC-to-PC file transfers.

The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is priced at $199, with an upgrade from Vista or XP costing $119. The full version of Windows 7 Professional is $299, with upgrades going for $199. Windows 7 Ultimate is priced at $319, with the upgrade version at $219.

However, customers in the U.S., Canada, and Japan who pre-order Windows 7 from certain online and brick-and-mortar stores—including Amazon and Best Buy—by July 11th will receive discounts of more than 50%, Microsoft said. The same program is available in the UK, France, and Germany between July 15th and Aug. 14th.


InformationWeek has published an indepth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).

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