Here’s a novel way to stop people using your beta software. Windows Vista betas and Release Candidates are set to expire at the end of this month and in order to stop people using these versions the software is set to reboot without warning after two hours of use. No opportunity to save your data, no prior warning, just reboot your box.
I think it’s a great idea. It lets you use the OS for a restricted time, so you can still get your data off or run an upgrade if you need, but reduces the utility of the OS for any real jobs. Rebooting without warning may seem a bit mean, but users will be warned they are running an expired OS from a couple of weeks beforehand. The 2-hour window will continue for a couple of months after which those versions will be locked forever and just won’t work.
Quite a graceful exit path, I must say.