A reminder: Win 7 testers, your beta is about to expire

If you're one of those Windows 7 testers still running the Beta -- and not the Release Candidate -- of Microsoft's next-generation client, it's time to get the lead out.

If you're one of those Windows 7 testers still running the Beta -- and not the Release Candidate -- of Microsoft's next-generation client, it's time to get the lead out.

Bi-hourly shutdowns of the Windows 7 Beta (which Microsoft released officially in January of this year) are set to begin next week, on July 1. On August 1, the Windows 7 Beta will be marked as "non-Genuine" software, with those running it becoming subject t the punishments that Microsoft has earmarked for pirates.

Testers have until August 15 to download the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) build, which Microsoft made available for download starting in May 2009. The RC is set to begin its own bi-hourly shutdowns in March 2010 and to be designated "non-Genuine" in June 2010.

Windows 7 is expected to be released to manufacturing in July and will be generally available starting October 22, 2009.