Reminder: Windows 7 RC shut downs begin today

Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) copies will begin restarting every two hours today.

Microsoft officials warned of the prompts and bi-hourly shut downs in early February. A brief summary of the events can be found below:

Effective March 1, 2010, Windows 7 RC enters the next phase of expiration:

  • Windows 7 RC users receive an expiration notification in the task bar one time per day.
  • Windows 7 RC users are presented with the Notification Wizard one time every four hours and then one time every hour.
  • Computers that are running Windows 7 RC restart every two hours. 

Effective June 1, 2010, Windows 7 RC expires:

  • Windows starts to a black desktop.
  • Windows 7 RC users are presented with a Windows Activation screen. The screen states that the Windows that you are running is not genuine.
  • Computers that are running Windows 7 RC restart every two hours.

Microsoft has sold more than 60 million Windows 7 licenses to date making it the fastest selling operating system in history. Microsoft released Windows 7 on October 22, 2009. The operating system has received praise from consumers, businesses and the media. In November 2009, Windows 7 managed to surpass Apple's Snow Leopard market share in just two weeks. In early February it was revealed that Windows 7 had reached 10% market share in just three months.

Screenshots of a Windows 7 post RTM build showed up on the web in February, fueling speculation that Microsoft is compiling early Windows 8 builds. The successor to Windows 7 will likely be available in 2011 as an ex-Microsoft worker penned July 2011 as the RTM date for Windows 8.

Microsoft is currently readying its first Service Pack for Windows 7. A beta version is expected in June with a public release in September this year.

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