If you still want to check out Windows 7 RC, it's now available to the general public for download. Microsoft made it available via MSDN and a few other sites to members last week, but now everyone can get their hands on it.
You can download it now from here
Now for the catch. This isn't surprising to me, Microsoft has put in a bit of a "timer" in these versions so you're encouraged to purchase the real thing eventually.
- Beta versions of Windows 7 will get an hourly shutdown beginning July 1, 2009
- Other version of Windows 7 will get an hourly shutdown beginning March 1, 2010
I gathered this tidbit from the Microsoft partner website thanks to tomshardware:
To avoid interruption, it’s recommended that you and your customers rebuild test machines by using a valid Windows operating system before Windows 7 Beta and Windows 7 RC expire. Windows will automatically notify you that the expiration process is about to begin. Two weeks later, your PC will shut down every two hours. For Windows 7 Beta, the bihourly shutdowns will begin July 1, 2009. The software will expire August 1, 2009. For Windows 7 RC, the bihourly shutdowns will begin March 1, 2010. The software will expire June 1, 2010.
I don't really see this as a problem - if you like Windows 7 enough to still be using it by those dates, you probably should purchase it by then anyway right? Just be sure you remember to save all of that stuff you have on the PC with the beta (or unofficial) Windows 7 installed before the deadlines.