Get Windows 7 beta while you can

windows7logo Today’s the day that Microsoft makes the first public beta version of Windows 7 universally available to anyone who wants it, via download from Microsoft’s website.

Windows 7 is the next version of the Windows operating system, successor to Windows Vista, due for release later in 2009.

A post yesterday on the Windows Team blog has detailed information on downloading and installing the beta. However, as I write these words, there must be huge interest in the beta as attempts to access that post during the past several hours only produces a ‘server too busy’ message.

And access to much content on the Microsoft domain is pretty slow, producing many ‘Waiting for www.microsoft.com…’ browser status messages.

Thanks to the Google cache, though, I was able to access a text-only cached version of that post, captured at 07:57:14 GMT today, with all those details.

Key points:

  • The Windows 7 public beta will be available for download only (Microsoft is not sending out copies on DVD).
  • It will be available for a limited time to the first 2.5 million people who download it. The post doesn’t say what ‘limited time’ means but I would guess that 2.5 million downloads will happen quite quickly.  The limit has been removed and ‘limited time’ means by Jan 24 – see Jan 11 update below.
  • The beta will be available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions in the English, German, Japanese, Arabic or Hindi languages (no 64-bit version in Hindi).
  • The file you download will be an ISO image which you need to burn to a DVD. If you don’t have burner software such as Roxio or Nero to do that, the post recommends the free ImgBurn app.
  • Windows 7 beta is available in one edition only, roughly equivalent to Windows Vista Ultimate.
  • Windows 7 beta will expire on August 1, 2009.

Those are the key things from the post; you might be able to access the post by the time I’ve published this one and so you will be able to read all the other information there as well. There’s Google cache in the meantime!

Here’s another link to the Windows 7 home page as I’m sure details of the public beta download and how to get it will be posted there at some point.

I intend to take Windows 7 beta for a test drive, probably installing it on my Dell XPS 420 desktop in a second partition so I can boot up either to Vista or 7. I’m conscious that in spite of near-universal acclaim for Windows 7 beta that I’ve seen, it’s still a beta. PC Pro magazine’s Barry Collins has 10 tips for Windows 7 beta testers.

This of course assumes I can connect to the Microsoft download servers once the beta is actually available during today US Pacific time. I would imagine the huge interest in this product will lead to quite a few ‘server too busy’ or equivalent messages today.

Likely for me will be a download attempt over the weekend, assuming 2.5 million others won’t have already done that.

[Update Sunday Jan 11:] It certainly does seem that Microsoft did not expect such a high Windows 7 beta demand as much commentary since Friday clearly indicates.

While I eventually managed to get to the download link and install the download manager app, I’ve had no luck at all yet in actually downloading the beta.

Now that Microsoft has removed the limit of 2.5 million downloads, I might have more luck with continuing attempts. As long as I can do that by the cut-off date of January 24.

[Update Monday Jan 12:] In spite of continuing attempts to download the beta file, this time via a direct download link via a Microsoft friend, no luck so far.

The ISO file is downloading but incompletely even though Windows thinks it is complete – the file should be showing a size of 2.4 gigabytes not, as this screenshot shows, 391 megabytes.

win7betaiedlcomplete2

Maybe Virgin Media is throttling my bandwidth, as one Twitter friend wondered.

In any event, I will have the beta soon enough on DVD via a Microsoft friend. More later, therefore.

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.