Get your Windows 7 RC downloads while they last (offer expires Aug 20)
You don't need to install or activate the release candidate this week. You'll still be able to get a product key. But the download links will go away later this week. The official ones anyway.
Of course, the full version of Windows 7 will be available on October 22nd, so you may wonder if there's even any point in installing the RC now. But here's the thing: It doesn't expire until June 1st, 2010. In other words, you can still use the release candidate for another 10 months free of charge while deciding whether you want to shell out the money to purchase a full copy. Of course, this is all in the name of helping test the product and provide feedback for Microsoft to improve the operating system.
There is a catch. Starting on March 1st, if you're still running Windows 7 RC your computer will automatically shut down every two hours as a gentle reminder that your time is running out. But the only other way you're going to get to spend the next 10 months with a free operating system is to download one that's, you know, really free. Like Ubuntu, Mandriva, or PCLinuxOS.