I still have Windows 7 Evaluation copy, Build 7100.

It now says "This copy of Windows Ultimate will expire in 18 hours".

I've bought a new Windows 7 Professional.

I have all my data on a second drive and have backed it all up just in case.

I plan to just reformat the C drive and install Windows Professional full version on it.


  • would trying to upgrade be easier, e.g. from evaluation ultimate to full professional? anyone have experience doing this?
  • what will actually happen in 18 hours when "windows 7 evaluation" expires, can I no longer start it?

You are not supposed upgrade a RC (release candidate) version to a RTM (release to market) version, so the Windows 7 RTM installer won't let you without some hackery of a file on the Windows 7 Professional disc.

According to Micrsoft:

  • On February 15, customers will begin receiving automatically generated notifications, warning them that their operating systems will expire and that they need to back up their data.

  • Beginning March 1, users’ systems will reboot every two hours and work will not be saved.

More specifically, Microsoft breaks the expiration into 2 categories - the "Time Bomb" and then "License Expiration":

  • User starts seeing Notifications 14 days before time bomb date. Notifications indicate that system will expire and that data needs to be backed up.

  • After the Time bomb date system blue screens or reboots every 2hrs, depending on the System failure settings in Start up and recovery options.  Our activation wizards are displayed frequently indicating that the system has expired.

  • Approximately 3 months after the time bomb date, the licenses in the system expires. When the licenses expire, the system gets into Notification state. The notifications are more intrusive occurs during logon, periodically in Action Center, accessing system components such as control panel and finally the desktop background turns black with a non-genuine watermark. The trusted time is used for this check, so it is difficult to game around this timer.

Microsoft has a PowerPoint on the "Pre-release Expiration User Experience" that includes screenshots of the various dialogs.

Your plans to reformat and install Windows 7 RTM is the right way to go.

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