Microsoft Extends Windows 7 Enterprise Free Trial

Originally launched in September as a "limited-time" offer, the Windows 7 Enterprise trial was slated to end on March 31 but has been extended through Dec. 31, said Stephen Rose, senior community manager for Windows, in a Tuesday blog post.

The trial program lets IT professionals test out a fully functional version of Windows 7 Enterprise free of charge for 90 days and is specifically aimed at companies that don't have MSDN, TechNet, or volume licensing subscriptions.

Testers have 10 days to activate the Windows 7 trial, after which it will shut down once every hour until activated. At the end of the 90-day evaluation period, testers that want to keep using Windows 7 Enterprise will have to buy and clean install it, because Windows 7 Enterprise isn't available through retail channels.

Migrating to Windows 7 can be a gargantuan task for larger companies, and the ongoing economic uncertainty could be causing some to put their migration plans on hold.

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Last month Microsoft, in a bid to smooth the migration path, launched App-V 4.6, the latest version of its application virtualization offering. The update adds support for 64-bit Windows client and server platforms and enables virtual applications to be deployed in Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), terminal services, and local desktop scenarios.

Microsoft last month also unveiled the release candidate for Med-V Service Pack 1, adding support for Internet Explorer 6 and removing a key barrier to enterprise Windows 7 migrations.

Windows 7 Enterprise includes new features such as DirectAccess, which 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.