With the release date of Microsoft Windows 7 just around the corner (October 22nd 2009), it has now emerged that the promised 30-day trial period during which users can run the OS without paying for it can easily be stretched to a full four months.

Typing in some simple commands is all it takes to extend the trial period in order to make Windows 7 Free for 4 months. What this command does is that, it resets the timer back to zero when executed and this can be done 3 times, which effectively means 4 full months of free trial period of Windows 7. Interesting thing is that this trick works for all versions of Windows 7 – Basic to Ultimate versions.

Even though the initial reviews of this popular Windows OS has been quite positive, some surveys carried out a couple of months back showed that the companies across the world are NOT planning to upgrade their systems to Windows 7 till the end of 2010. So, this trick of extending the trial period by 3 more months would mean adding salt to the wound of Microsoft.

How to use Windows 7 Free for 4 months?

Microsoft allows anyone to install and use any version of Windows 7 for 30 days without having to enter an activation key. There are no strings attached, and the operating system’s performance is not degraded or defaced during the trial. This trial can be extended for 4 months by using a Microsoft-supplied utility called the Software License Manager (slmgr). This tool conveniently ships with Windows 7.

To see how many days you have left, click Start, right-click Computer, and choose Properties. At the bottom of the dialog under Windows Activation, you’ll see the number of days left in your trial period.

When that number gets perilously close to zero, you can extend the free period another 30 days via the following steps:

Step 1: Click Start, All Programs, Accessories. Right-click Command Prompt and choose Run As Administrator. Enter your administrator password.

Step 2: Type the following command and press Enter:

slmgr -rearm

[Note the space after slmgr and the hyphen in front of rearm.]

Step 3: Restart Windows 7

Once the OS restarts, the Properties dialog described above will indicate that Windows 7’s activation grace period has been reset to a full 30 days. You can run the -rearm trick a total of three times. If you perform a -rearm at the end of each 30-day period, you end up with 120 days of full, unfettered Windows 7 use without having to supply an activation key in the interim.

Microsoft is aware of this bug as it was present even in Windows Vista, and they say thay are pretty cool with it. So, there are no legal implications as such in using this trick to extend your trial period.

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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp