Microsoft in Windows 7 RTM free-for-all

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Microsoft has made "feature-complete", release-to-manufacturing (RTM) code of Windows 7 Enterprise edition universally available.

Almost. Writing on Microsoft's Springboard Series blog, Stephen Rose says the RTM download "is specifically intended for IT professionals responsible for desktop administration," rather than consumers or tech enthusiasts at large.

The operating system needs to be activated within 10 days of the install, and is fully functional for 90 days. After this it will shut down once an hour. It's available for download until the 31st March 2010, although Microsoft claims there is "a limited quantity" of downloads, without specifically saying how many.

Microsoft has attempted to restrict downloads to professional users, but the measures the company are has taken can be worked around it would seem. To download the software you fill out an online form, which includes a drop-down box for occupation. Select roles such as "Other", "Tech Enthusiast" or "Consumer" and you're met with a message saying "Thank you for your interest in Windows 7! The evaluation version you are attempting to download is for IT Professionals only."

Tell a white lie and claim to be an "IT Manager", "IT Worker", "Non IT manager" or a "Developer" however, and you're taken directly to a Java application, which allows you to download a fully-working ISO.

Users are warned that if they choose to install Windows 7 Enterprise edition, they'll have to completely wipe their system before doing so, and will need to do so again when the trial expires.

It's the first chance many end users will have had to run RTM code of the promising-looking Windows 7 ahead of its release on October 22.

Microsoft had not responded to our request for comment at the time of publication.

Click here for our review of Windows 7 RTM.