Got an email from Microsoft this afternoon. Yes I am aware the release candidate for Windows 7 wasn't the final version, and yes I'm aware it wasn't supposed to be used after a cut off date, but this is ridiculous.
While most people who tested Windows 7 have now moved to the final version, some are still running the Release Candidate. If you haven’t moved yet, it’s time to replace the RC.
Starting on March 1, 2010 your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Your work will not be saved during the shutdown.
The Windows 7 RC will fully expire on June 1, 2010.
The emphasis was added by them, not me.
Multiple versions, forcing people who bought machines with crippled introductory software versions to upgrade to a less crippled version, staggered shutdowns with deleted files, who else could get away with this stuff other than maybe SAP et al?
Fortunately the retail copy of Windows 7 I run in a VM for a few Windows applications I still need still lets me use the Classic interface. I still reckon Windows 95 was the closest Microsoft came to creating a pleasant, clean, usable interface, and kudos to them at least for letting me still use it over Aero.
As for stunts like this, it just shows what a company like Microsoft can get away with with so much cloud and a terms of service agreement they know virtually nobody reads.