The free preview version of Windows 7 runs out next month, with users still running Win 7 RC set to face PC shut-downs unless they upgrade to the full, paid-for version of Microsoft's new operating system.

Shut-down notices will begin on 15 February, with Windows 7 Release Candidate – or, as it is widely known, 'the cheapskate version' – showing a warning notice every few hours that users will need to upgrade to the full version of the OS by 1 March.

28 days to comply

If they do not comply, then their PC will start to automatically shut down every two hours after 1 March, which we imagine would become rather bothersome.

"To avoid any data loss, I suggest making plans to move to a released version of Windows 7 before the automatic shutdowns start," Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc posted on The Windows Blog.

"During these shutdowns, your work will not be saved."

The shutdowns will run through to 1 June, after which the PC's wallpaper will display a "this copy of Windows is not genuine" notification on the lower right corner of the taskbar and users will no longer receive any optional updates or downloads that need Windows validation.

Users can opt for an upgrade edition of Windows 7 to move from the RC to a full and final and official release copy.

Via The Register