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MS warns testers to activate Windows 7 beta

Otherwise desktop will be painted black

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Microsoft is nagging Windows 7 beta testers to activate their copies of the incomplete OS or else face a blackout after the 30-day grace period expires.

The company reminded users yesterday that the Windows 7 beta has been configured to regularly remind them to register their copy.

"If you do not activate the software within the grace period, you will receive persistent notifications, including a message from the system tray every 60 minutes that reminds you to 'Activate Windows Now,' said MS senior Windows Genuine Advantage wonk Alex Kochis in a lengthy blog entry yesterday.

It will harangue beta testers with "a persistent desktop notification that Windows is non-genuine, a non-genuine message that appears when the Control Panel is launched, and the desktop will be set to a plain black background," he said.

If Windows 7 isn't properly activated, users won't be able to apply updates to the operating system.

Microsoft released the public beta of Windows 7, AKA build 7000, in early January. Earlier this month the company officially slammed the door shut on its Windows 7 beta download program.

Users can continue to pick up a copy from a torrent tracker site, however. Unsurprisingly, Kochis frowned upon anyone using what he considered a less-than-savoury method for downloading the beta.

"I would urge people to remember the risks they might be exposed to when downloading software from unknown sources or when trying to find hack tools to try to work around activation," he noted.

"We looked at this some time ago and found that many sites that offer or claim to offer hack tools will try pretty aggressively to infect systems that connect to them with malware." ®

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