I am not sure if Mrs Fryer is trying to cash in on the life insurance or hasn’t quite got the hang of supply chain management.  The thing is I keep seeing stuff in the fridge with “sell by October 2009”, and the odd bit of furry cheese. 

Of course software doesn’t normally expire in the way that food does, but there are exceptions in the form of trial versions and beta products.

Windows 7 RC is probably the most downloaded beta to date and it is about to start to expire.  This shouldn’t matter too much as it was only meant for evaluating the new operating system and helping Microsoft to test its reliability.  However the reality is that many users still have it installed and this may well be on their only machine.

The way the RC will behave is as follows:

  • 15th Feb it will remind you to upgrade after every reboot
  • 1st March it will reboot every 2 hours, giving some access to do an upgrade and get data of their machines
  • 1st June it will go into ‘notification state’ to tell you copy of Windows is not genuine e.g. your wallpaper will be set to black and there will be popups appearing at random intervals.

I mentioned upgrade above because if these people were unhappy with Windows 7 they would have reverted to what they had before. I suspect the continuing use of RC is partly a testament to how reliable it was (for a beta) and how good Windows 7 is.  However the RC does have a few quirks in it, it is not supported nor will updates be released in future to secure it and should be consigned to the recycle bin as soon as possible, even if it was possible to go on using it forever.

So can I ask you to do two things:

  • If your organisation is now looking to upgrade to Windows 7 then you can now use an evaluation copy of rtm here
  • Check around friends family and colleagues to ensure that they have plans in place to move of the RC before it starts making their lives difficult.

Full details of this are on the KB article on Windows RC expiry