Well, this one is a bit of a surprise. On Tuesday, Microsoft said that its new Windows 7 Enterprise OS was available for download from its TechNet group to tech pros for a free, three-month trial.
"Many IT pros we talk to have been looking for a way to continue their work with the Release Candidate to test their applications, hardware, and deployment strategies with final Windows 7 bits," wrote Microsoft's Stephen Rose in a blog post. "In response, we have created the Windows 7 Enterprise 90 Day trial edition."
It’s actually not available to the general consumer or technology enthusiast, but Microsoft does very little to check up on that, almost inviting users to go for the white-lie workaround.
PC World explains: “Microsoft does try to be a little bit tricky by asking you to fill out a short survey before downloading. One of the survey questions asks you what your profession is, and supplies choices like IT manager, IT pro, Student, Tech Enthusiast and Consumer. If you choose to be honest and admit you're just an enthusiast or a student, Microsoft won't let you near the Windows 7 download. To get the Windows 7 download you have to say you're an IT pro, but luckily you don't have to prove it.”
The enterprise trial is the RTM version of Windows 7 (available in both 32-bit and 64-bit), and is feature-complete. Users must activate the trial within 10 days of downloading or the product will shut down every hour. After the 90-day trial ends, the computer will shut down every hour without warning.
IT professionals will then have to purchase and perform a clean installation of Windows 7, including drivers and applications, to continue using the OS.
So if you were late on the download window for the Windows 7 Beta or Release Candidate versions, you know where to get your fix now. We’ve been using the new OS for nine months now and can say without a doubt that this is Microsoft’s best offering till date. You’d be a fool not to check this out for free...