I tried to download the 2.4 gigabyte file, without success. Luckily a Microsoft Twitter buddy sent me the beta on DVD (thanks again, @Jas) and so I now have the 32-bit beta version installed on my Dell Dimension XPS 420 desktop computer as a dual-boot option alongside Windows Vista.
I will be getting to know Windows 7 beta during the coming weeks and will talk about my impressions of it over on Next, my tech blog. But for a starter, I recorded a sequence of videos when I installed the software on Saturday.
Part 1 â€“ the sequence of what happened from the moment the computer booted the installer on the DVD up to the first reboot â€“ is on YouTube.
Here is Part 2: just under 18 minutes of my thoughts and impressions on what I saw and experienced as a first run after the app was installed and went into its setup-completion routines.
Itâ€™s a bit dry â€“ this is not an all-action video by any means â€“ but you might find it helpful or useful if youâ€™re thinking about trying the beta, either as a clean install, an upgrade or a dual-boot option.
(For a look at a range of apps running on Windows 7 beta â€“ on a Macbook Air, incidentally â€“ take a look at Chris Dalbyâ€™s video interview with Microsoftâ€™s Steve Lamb who demoâ€™d the beta last Friday at the Social Media Cafe in London.)
Iâ€™ve spent just a little bit of time so far with Windows 7 beta. Itâ€™s installed clean into a new partition on my PCâ€™s drive C, so I have none of my favourite mainstream applications installed yet to try out with the beta.
The one app I have installed is a trial of the Norton 360 3.0 beta internet security product designed for Windows 7 that is one of the security products you see in the list of providers within Windows 7.
I have installed a few utilities and and run them with no issues, which is great. These all work in Windows 7 beta:
- Adobe AIR 1.5
- Total Commander (my all-time favourite Windows utility)
- Google Chrome (set as default browser)
- SnagIt 9 (running a 30-day trial as I already own SnagIt 9)
- Windows Live Writer
The only major issue I have encountered is a series of blue screens â€“ what you see when a severe system error happens causing the computer to come to a sudden and complete halt â€“ surrounding a device driver called tdx.sys.
Click on this image for a larger version where you can see the complete error texts.
From what Iâ€™ve been able to find out through online searching, this is something to do with either the anti-virus product, mapping a network drive, or both. Or maybe something else. Whatever it is, thereâ€™s a lot of online comment about it.
No doubt this will be addressed by Microsoftâ€™s developers during the evolution of the beta programme. Meanwhile, I seem to have got rid of the blue screens by not mapping a network drive.
Itâ€™s something like this happening that brings home to you the inherent risks of playing with beta software. So I am glad that I have installed Windows 7 beta as a fresh install in a separate drive partition and not as the primary operating system for day-to-day use. Not yet.