Windows 7, although free to download and use, has an a limited life - and Microsoft has just confirmed how limited that life is.

The software company has clarified when the Windows 7 Beta and the Release Candidate will begin their mind games in order to,


you, shall we say, to splash out for the official version of the OS.

Although the Beta's shut down was said to begin on 1 June, it has now been confirmed that this date is in fact the 1 July 2009.

This will mean it will begin shutting down every 2 hours, regardless of what you are doing.

In the case of the RC - its bi-hourly shutdowns will begin on 1 March, 2010.

Microsoft says "Windows will notify you that the expiration process is beginning and 2 weeks later your PC will begin shutting down every two hours", so you should have fair warning.