The Windows Team and the Springboard Series team have made a special evaluation edition of Windows 7 Enterprise Edition available for download. It’s a 90-day trial copy, just for IT Professionals who don’t already have a Volume License or TechNet Subscription or some other way of evaluating Windows 7 Enterprise edition.
“Trial? Do I have to activate it?”
Yes, but the key is already built-in. Once activated, the evaluation will run for 90 days, after which time the system will shut down every hour.
“Will I be able to put a new key in if I decide to purchase it?”
No, unfortunately not. This is an evaluation-only copy. You’ll have to do a fresh install of the purchased product when you’ve decided to go with it.
(NOTE: Though this is the official word, I personally was able to install the evaluation and then change the product key. Entering a VL MAK key allowed me to activate it just fine. So while it does require a proper license and key to continue to use it, it doesn’t necessarily require a fresh install.)
(CORRECTION TO MY NOTE: I spoke too soon. The path I mention in my note above indeed is not a supported path for this evaluation software. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Windows 7 evaluation trial, and I’m afraid that I may have added to the confusion. First, let me be clear: If you are a volume license customer, MSDN & TechNet subscriber or part of our partner programs, you already have access to the final bits – so the 90-Day Eval is really not for you anyway. It’s meant for those of you who want to look at and test Windows 7 Enterprise who don’t already have those other options. Please see Stephen Rose’s blog post here for more details on usage.
“So why did you even try it?”
I tried doing it because, well, that’s the kind of geek I am. And I know that most you reading this blog would try this if you could, too. So, my apologies to anyone who read my note out of context and assumed it was a supported workaround. It is not; which is exactly why I had left the official verbiage in the original blog post as well. I sincerely hope that this update, plus Stephen’s post, clears up any additional confusion.)
Here are the details straight out of the e-mail you will receive when you register for the download:
What you need to know before you begin.
Before you get started with installation, we want to share some important points about this release:
- If you’ve installed the Windows 7 Beta or Windows 7 Release Candidate on your PC, you’ll need to back up your data and perform a clean installation of the 90-day Trial.
- The 90-day Trial is the full working version of the Windows 7 Enterprise, the version most of you will be working with in your corporate environment.
- The 90-day Trial will not require a product key (it is embedded with the download), but the product will time out after 90 days of activation.
- You have 10 days to activate the product. If not activated within 10 days, the system will shut down once every hour until activated.
- The 90-day Trial will shut down once every hour when you have reached the end of the 90-day evaluation period.
- The 90-day Trial is offered for a limited time and in limited quantity. The download will be available through March 31, 2010, while supplies last.
- After the 90-day Trial expires, if you wish to continue to use Windows 7 Enterprise, please note that you will be required to purchase and perform a clean installation of Windows 7, including drivers and applications. Please keep this in mind; Windows 7 Enterprise is not available through retail channels.
Also note the part I highlighted. There are a limited number of downloads available, and only through March 31, 2010.
“Kevin, I already have a TechNet Subscription. Why do I want this?”
I’m glad you already have a TechNet Plus Subscription. Definitely one of the big benefits of that is that you don’t have to use time-out evaluation software. Windows 7 Enterprise is already available to you to try; without timing out. But there are many of you out there who do not (yet) have a TechNet Plus Subscription. This offer is specifically geared towards those of you IT Pros who don’t have any other way (Volume Licensing, TechNet/MSDN Subscriptions, or Software Assurance) of evaluating the Enterprise Edition of Windows 7.
For full details, check out Stephen Rose’s Blog post about it.
“No need! You had me at ‘Free Evaluation’. Where is the download?!”
Ah.. Love the enthusiasm. You’ll find the download links there as well.
So what do you think? Are you going to try it now?