Microsoft Offers 90-Day Free Windows 7 Trial

In a Tuesday post to The Windows Blog, Stephen Rose, senior community manager for Windows, said the Windows 7 Enterprise trial is designed specifically for IT professionals that are responsible for desktop administration in their organizations.

Microsoft's goal is to give companies that have been evaluating and testing the Windows 7 Release Candidate a way to continue their efforts with the final, release-to-manufacturing code. Windows 7 Enterprise will only be available through volume licensing, so this is a welcome move for companies that perhaps cut back on expenses due to the economy.

Prospective testers shouldn't dally, though, as Microsoft is only offering a limited number of licenses, and these will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until March 31, 2010, according to Rose.

After the 90-day evaluation period has passed, the Windows 7 Enterprise trial will shut down once an hour as a gentle reminder that it's time to upgrade to the paid version. Customers will have to purchase Windows 7 Enterprise and deploy it through a clean install, which requires re-installation of drivers and applications, Rose noted in the blog post.

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Windows 7 Enterprise comes with all the new bells and whistles, including DirectAccess, a VPN-killing technology that gives mobile users seamless access to corporate networks; BranchCache, which stores frequently used data locally to improve network performance at remote locations; and BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, which encrypt data on hard drives and removable storage devices.