Free Windows 7
I've heard there are ways to get a free copy of Windows 7, but I don't want to break any laws, or get a hacked version from some file sharing site. Can I really get a free, legal copy of Windows 7?
How To Get Windows 7 For Free
Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and it is becoming increasingly obsolete. More and more new applications for Windows 7 are being released, and many have compatibility issues with Windows XP. Sure, you can tweak Windows XP settings to make incompatible Windows 7 apps run under it, but that's time-consuming and performance may be compromised. It's better to bite the bullet and move up to Windows 7.
But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy a copy of Windows 7.
If you are a student, there are a few ways to get Windows 7 for free, legally. If you're not a student, you can still get a legal, licensed copy of Windows 7 for free, at least temporarily. Sooner or later you have to pay Microsoft to keep using Windows 7, if you want to stay on the right side of the law. Here are your options for getting Windows 7 for free.
Until April 29, 2011, anyone can download Windows 7 for free from Microsoft's official site and use it for up to 90 days free of charge. The trial period of Win7 Enterprise (the top of the line version) gives you a chance to learn Windows 7 and see how your existing apps perform under it. But at the end of 90 days, the trial version will shut down once every hour. Obviously, this is not a great solution for the long haul.
Free Windows 7 For Students
But if you are a student whose school is enrolled in the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance (MDNAA), you can download Windows 7 installation files for free from your school's servers. Here is the procedure:
- Go to the MSDNAA School Member Search page.
- Select your school using the pulldown menu options.
- You will be shown the department and software center from which you can download Windows 7 and other Microsoft products.
- You will need login credentials supplied by your school's IT department. Use them to log in and download what you want.
If your school is not yet a member of MSDNAA, ask your administrators to apply for membership.
Here's one more roundabout way to get a free copy of Windows 7 64-bit. Note that you must be a student at an accredited school, and your computer must support 64-bit computing to make this trick work. Download Windows Server 2008 R2 (Release Candidate 2) from the Dreamspark website. It's basically a Windows 7 workstation (desktop) edition optimized for running a server. It comes in an ISO image file of 2.8 GB, so have a blank DVD, DVD burning drive, and ISO image burning software such as MagicISO at hand. Burn the ISO image to a bootable DVD and you have a Windows Server 2008 installation disc.
Install Windows Server 2008 using the link in the previous paragraph, then read this ZDNet tutorial for instructions on tweaking it to run as a Windows 7 workstation.
I strongly urge you to resist the temptation to download a cracked (illegally activated) copy of Windows 7 from a peer-to-peer network or "warez" site. It's illegal, for one thing. But there are other pitfalls to downloading a bootleg copy of Windows 7. Such copies are often deliberatly corrupted and can leave your computer open to hackers or infection with malware.
Do you have something to say about getting a legal, free copy of Windows 7? Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 7 Feb 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Windows 7 (Posted: 7 Feb 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved