The free ride is officially over - sort of. If you installed Windows 7 beta on any of your machines, the next time you fire it up, the OS will initiate a shutdown sequence every 2 hours, a move intended to guide users to the Windows 7 Release Candidate.
"If you're still on the Windows 7 Beta you should certainly look at giving the Windows 7 RC a try!," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a Windows team blog post.
The good news is that the Windows 7 RC (Release Candidate) is still available for download, it includes several new features and fixes, and will continue to run uninterrupted until June 1, 2010. But you'll have to act fast, as the RC download program comes to a screeching halt on August 15.
Even better, Microsoft has temporarily reduced pricing on retail upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home and Professional to $50 and $100 respectively. The pre-order pricing remains in effect until Saturday, July 11, at which point prices will jump to $120 (Home) and $200 (Professional).