Citing "popular demand," Microsoft is extending a free trial program that lets companies kick the tires on Windows 7 Enterprise edition.

Originally launched in September as a "limited-time" offer, the Windows 7 Enterprise trial was slated to end on March 31 but has been extended through Dec. 31, said Stephen Rose, senior community manager for Windows, in a Tuesday blog post.

The trial program lets IT professionals test out a fully functional version of Windows 7 Enterprise free of charge for 90 days and is specifically aimed at companies that don't have MSDN, TechNet, or volume licensing subscriptions.

Testers have 10 days to activate the Windows 7 trial, after which it will shut down once every hour until activated. At the end of the 90-day evaluation period, testers that want to keep using Windows 7 Enterprise will have to buy and clean install it, because Windows 7 Enterprise isn't available through retail channels.

Full story: CRN