Just like the free Windows Vista copies Microsoft was giving out 3 years ago, Microsoft is now giving out free copies of Windows 7 to anyone who is willing to give it a go. The offer that started a while ago is going to continue on till August 15th apparently, and anyone who has a broadband connection can take advantage of it.
To get your free copy of the Windows 7 release candidate, head on over to Microsoft’s Free Windows 7 download website, scroll down, choose your language under the proper heading and click Go. You’ll need a Windows Live ID (sign up for one here) because it’ll ask you to log in first so that you can get the download link and the product key. Oh and as Microsoft says, do not try it on your main computer, because chances are it isn’t going to work right (so technically Microsoft just wants a bunch of free beta testers, a.k.a. guinea pigs). The Windows copy will stay valid till June next year, so you’ll have a while to see how much you like it.
Also, you’ll need to either burn the .iso image that you download from Microsoft, or you can probably write the image to a USB drive and then boot off the USB drive if you’re cheap like me. To burn it either use software like Nero or download (as Microsoft says) ISObuster or some other freeware like CDBurnerXP to burn it to a DVD. You’ll also need to have a DVD burner to do that though, but chances are that you already have one, since you want to run Windows 7 on that machine.
Furthermore, according to Microsoft, you wont be able to upgrade from the Windows 7 RC to the final version. You’ll have to start all over again with a clean install. So keep that in mind as well. But for the purposes of just testing out the operating system and all its little feature, it should work quite well. You could also of course, just use a Virtual Machine like Microsoft Virtual PC to run it on your current Vista or XP installation, provided you have quite a bit of RAM on your computer.
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