All right, all right - we know that Windows 7 is almost certain to be with us in all its finished, Microsoft-saving glory in the summer, but had you cottoned on to the fact that you can get the release candidate next week and run it for free for a year anyway?

Microsoft has confirmed that the 5 May RC of the new OS will not expire until 1 June 2010, which means more than a year of free play. There is a caveat to this, click the link to find out more.

Previously, Windows Vista's candidate releases remained fully functional only for around eight months, nominally for testing purposes, but there was no shortage of cracks available online to keep them going indefinitely.

So far, the Windows 7 RC has been available to professional subscribers to Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet sites, although both have been reporting early hitches as download requests overwhelmed their servers.