The trial is aimed at IT pros who don't otherwise have access to a trial version or the actual product. Microsoft's partners, volume licensing and Software Assurance customers, and TechNet and MSDN subscribers have other means to get the bits.
The trial software is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions at the Microsoft TechNet Evaluation Center here.
The Windows 7 Enterprise trial is the complete edition that would typically be available to IT pros as part of Microsoft's volume licensing or subscriber agreements, although it will expire 90 days after activation.
The trial version is supposed to be used for testing, but happy users can buy a copy of the OS. If they buy it, though, the trial copy can't be used. Microsoft warns that those buying the product from the trial version will have to perform a clean install of the operating system, and reinstall all drivers, rather than continue to use the trial version.
Another caveat is that the Windows 7 Enterprise edition trial has to be activated within 10 days of downloading it; otherwise, the OS will shut down every hour until activated. The activation key is built into this trial edition, so users don't have to look for it.
Those currently still using the release candidate version of Windows 7 are already getting notices of shutdowns every two hours. The RC will expire on June 1, 2010, and users will start getting on-screen notices that their Windows 7 copy is not genuine. The nasty part about the shutdowns is that work in progress will not get saved, according to Microsoft's explanation.
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