In response to the cries of many testers who felt their help and feedback were under-appreciated, Microsoft has reversed a previous decision and announced it would hand out free copies of Windows 7 Ultimate to those who received the earliest builds of the operating system last year. The offer applies to members of the invitation-only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program – meaning users who downloaded the public beta or release candidate are not eligible for the thank you.

Just last week, when Microsoft announced Windows 7 had hit the RTM milestone, it also revealed that in contrast to Windows Vista testers this time no one would be receiving a free copy of their upcoming OS. Even though the company warned this could be the case back in December 2008 when the beta program began, it’s nice to see them do the right thing here.

Eligible testers can expect their copy on the day Windows 7 RTM build hits MSDN and TechNet – August 6.