Windows 7 free download "for all"; RTM trials and tribulations

Microsoft is now offering a free 90-day trial version of the final Windows 7 RTM code. It's theoretically aimed at IT pros, but can actually be downloaded by anyone with a pulse. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers marvel at Microsoft's Machiavellian motives.

By Richi Jennings. September 3, 2009.

(NASDAQ:MSFT)

Your humble blogwatcher has selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention battery battery...

Lee Mathews leads us:

Still not sure whether or not Windows 7 is a good fit for your workplace? Missed out on the RC download and wish you had something you could evaluate? You're in luck. Microsoft has made a 90-day trial download of Windows 7 Enterprise available.

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You don't have to be a member of TechNet, MSDN, the Partner Program, or have a Software Assurance agreement.
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Tony Bradley offers up reasons why you should grab it:

Whether you are anxiously awaiting the new operating system, or skeptical of the hype around Windows 7, ... you should jump on the free trial. ... Whether you are still using Windows XP, made the switch to Windows Vista, or haven't been using Windows at all, now is your chance to take a look at the final release version of Windows 7 and decide for yourself.

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[It] will let you dip your toe in the proverbial water and see for yourself whether the products you rely on will play nicely with the new operating system. ... What do those features mean to you, and are they worth the investment? You might think the features are cool, but are they $130 cool? ... Act Quickly.
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Microsoft's Stephen L Rose is having fun:

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. In response, we have created the Windows 7 Enterprise 90 Day trial edition, available beginning today. ... [It's] specifically intended for IT professionals responsible for desktop administration; consumers will be able to purchase Windows 7 on October 22, 2009.

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A limited number of licenses are available, so the download will only be available while supplies last. ... This is the same software that is available to Volume Licensing (VL) through Software Assurance (SA) and is feature-complete.

... Available in English, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese in both 32 and 64 bit versions.
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All of which leaves Adrian Kingsley-Hughes scratching his head:

Maybe it’s me and I’ve just not had enough coffee yet today (or maybe I’ve had too much, it’s hard to tell sometimes, I just know I’ve not had the right amount) but who exactly is this 90-day Windows 7 Enterprise trial aimed at?

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So it’s aimed at IT pros without MSDN or TechNet and that don’t have access to Windows 7 via a mechanism such as Software Assurance?
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Ian Paul posits it's "a ploy to kill Vista and XP":

Microsoft warns that the trial is for IT pros only, and does not recommend regular consumers tinker with the enterprise version. But Microsoft makes almost no effort to verify that only IT pros are downloading the test version, meaning virtually anyone can get their hands on the Windows 7 trial.

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Why would Microsoft want to be so generous by offering another free Windows 7 trial? The reasoning seems clear enough to me: convince as many Windows Vista and XP users to upgrade to the new OS. ... To avoid a repeat of the Vista rollout, Microsoft is letting as many people as possible try out and get used to Windows 7. After all, the more people who try out Windows 7, the more likely they may be to drop their current version of Windows for the new OS.
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John Lister laughs at the ubiquitous "while supplies last" phrase:

There’s no technical reason for a limitation, that restriction seems in place solely so that the firm can declare the limit reached and thus bill it as having overwhelming demand.
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So what's your take?

Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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