Windows 7 Beta Now Available

If you’ve been dying to get your hands on Windows 7, then Microsoft has a present for you. During his keynote at CES, Steve Ballmer announced the public availability of Windows 7 Beta 1. One message that Microsoft has been trying to make clear through Windows 7 is that the company is listening. After a less-than-pleasing acceptance and reaction to Vista, Microsoft has spent months talking to businesses and consumers about what they want to see in a new OS. Some of those features, such as touch-based tasks and a better use of resources, are incorporated into Windows 7. 

During his keynote, Ballmer told a crowd that a nearly final "beta" test version of Windows 7 will be available today (Friday) for PC users to download and test. Ballmer also assured users that Windows 7 will boot faster and drain laptop batteries more slowly. 

The Beta expires August 1, 2009. Of course, Microsoft has all sorts of caveats, so that they’re not liable if the beta destroys your computer. The first round of downloads is limited to 2.5 million users. We’re receiving reports of sluggish downloads and busy server errors, so you’ll have to be patient if you want to rock the Windows 7 goodness. (That, or get it from a torrent site…not that we’re encouraging that.) For a legitimate version of the beta, head on over to http://www.microsoft.com/windows7. TechNet Plus subscribers can download the Windows 7 Beta software here.

Minimum hardware recommendations for running Windows 7 are as follows:

  • Processor: 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
  • Memory:  1 GB of system memory
  • Hard drive: 16 GB of available disk space
  • Video card:  Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128MB memory (in order to enable Aero theme)
  • Drive: DVD-R/W drive
  • Internet connection (to download the Beta and get updates)

Update: After struggling to keep up with demand, Microsoft has pulled the beta for now. From The Windows Blog:
"Due to very heavy traffic we’re seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to the Microsoft.com properties before we post the public beta. We want to ensure customers have the best possible experience when downloading the beta, and I’ll be posting here again soon once the beta goes live. Stay tuned! We are excited that you are excited!"

Comments
Der Meister 5 years ago

I wouldn't mind trying it...

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

[quote user="Der Meister"]

I wouldn't mind trying it...

[/quote]

Totally worth a try while it's free. It quite good. After burning the CD it only took around 10 minutes to install. Messed up my Ubuntu install in the MBR, but not Vista. On my girlfriends rig she has Ubuntu installed with Wubi and it didn't mess that up.

peti1212 5 years ago

I am downloading it right now. My friend has it and he loves it.

Super Dave 5 years ago

MS has removed the download at this time and posted this message: We're sorry for the delay and we'll re-post the Beta as soon as we can ensure a quality download experience.Sad

 

recoveringknowitall 5 years ago

Tweakguides.com has working links for both the 32 and 64 bit versions, but you'll still need a key of course.

Super Dave 5 years ago

I just now checked and MS has once again re-posted the Beta download.

3vi1 5 years ago

XKCD

marco c 5 years ago

I'm pulling it down off of the technet site at about 600KB/s...should have it in about two hours. Gonna install on my notebook and will post my thoughts in my blog in a few days.

recoveringknowitall 5 years ago

I got a beta key and am dl'ing it now, but where do I get proper drivers? Use Vista drivers?

shortysdohdoh 5 years ago

wow, sounds really awesome! is it ok for me to request screenshots of the GUI in windows 7?

tanka12345 5 years ago

I really want to try it, but I don't want to risk it. I second the request of pics, so us other HHers can see what it looks like. I look forward to your thoughts Marco.

recoveringknowitall 5 years ago

After using it for an hour so far, it loox like they're just trying to re market Vista. Yes it has new features, but 90% of it loox exactly like Vista.

At this point I think the new toolbar is it's best feature.

IMHO W7 will be most attractive to those who are coming from XP and skipped Vista altogether.

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

Vista drivers should work I think. I am just using the drivers that auto installed. From what I have read it runs good on netbooks so I think I'm going to track down a external dvd drive and put it on my Aspire One. Stick out tongue

recoveringknowitall 5 years ago

Windows experience index now goes up to 7.9(vs 5.9 in Vista).

 

I currently have 7 installed on my secondary system and my scores are:

Processor(C2D E4600 2.4ghz)=5.6(scores 5.3 on Vista)

Memory(2 x 1gb 800 C5)=5.5(scores 4.9 on Vista)

Graphics(Intel GMA 3100 onboard)=4.1(scores 3.6 on Vista)

Gaming graphics=3.3(same score on Vista)

Primary hard disk(80gb 7200rpm 8mb cache sata)=5.3(same on Vista)

 

Personally I could care less about these scores, but threw them up for the heck of it and for conversational purposes. :)

 

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

And I have a 5.7 on my memory in 7 and a 5.9 in vistaSad

recoveringknowitall 5 years ago

Weird.

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

[quote user="recoveringknowitall"]

Weird.

[/quote]

Yeah I'm quite sad about it. Also 3vi1 I love XKCD! You just made me lose a half hour getting caught up on them.

dhoshaw 5 years ago

As of 8am EST, the download links are not working. I downloaded both the 32 and 64 bit version last night at home, but this morning when I tried at work I got page not found errors.

marco c 5 years ago

The links are going up and down--the 32-bit download was just working, but 64-bit was not.

So far, my experience is mixed. It does look much like Vista, but that's a good thing in my opinion. Performance is definitely very good even with the feedback and debug code enabled. It installed almost perfectly on my laptop, but it couldn't find drivers for three devices, and they are unidentified so I can just install the drivers myself without doing some more research.

I'm going to spend more time tinkering over the next couple of weeks. But, as of now, my impression is good to very good.

ice91785 5 years ago

[quote user="Marco C"]The links are going up and down--the 32-bit download was just working, but 64-bit was not.[/quote]

Explains my problem this morning....

Anyway, I am excited to test it out -- I wish I had vmware or some virtual machine software to install it w/o formatting my existing machines... :(

Marco, does WMP/WMC have built-in HD support? (I noticed a short agreement involving H.264 etc...) If so that'd be awesome!

digitaldd 5 years ago

Quicktime .mov files which are h.264 encoded play fine in WMP12 but you have to force them to open in WMP or change the file association. AVI's encoded in Divx or Xvid can be played back in WMP 12 just fine without installing codecs. Also i could play abck some AVC HD files OK and others not so OK. no idea why.

 

I'm liking the new OS quite a bit actually.

recoveringknowitall 5 years ago

[quote user="Marco C"] But, as of now, my impression is good to very good.[/quote]Ditto.

shortysdohdoh 5 years ago

Windows 7 looks like Vista. does that mean that it also requires the 500MB of RAM just to keep the 3D background running the same as Vista?

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

[quote user="shortysdohdoh"]

Windows 7 looks like Vista. does that mean that it also requires the 500MB of RAM just to keep the 3D background running the same as Vista?

[/quote]

Windows 7 is actually quite fast.

marco c 5 years ago

Hey Ice,

I'm not sure, and haven't had time to mess around today. Gimme a couple days and I'll check it out.

Super Dave 5 years ago

HERE is a Windows 7 review if anyone is interested in a little reading.

3vi1 5 years ago

>> Windows 7 is enough to kill Linux on the desktop

The Inquirer's posted a lot of obvious troll headlines to drive up visits, but that one takes the cake. There's nothing factual in the article to back up his Linux put-downs, and he's entirely apologetic for the problems he encountered with the Win7 beta.

>> After years of working on XP and Ubuntu you forget what a decent graphics interface looks like.

Ever tried "sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop"? That's the great thing about Linux - there's not *one* GUI; you can pick the one best suited for you, or your machines horsepower. I tried Win7, and don't see why anyone that's used KDE4.1 would be impressed with the (very similar looking) interface.

Linux Desktop

(My KDE4.1.96 desktop, not Windows 7)
(As the spam-mail said to the user, click to enlarge)

>> If Microsoft had released Windows 7 instead of Vista there would have been no rise of Ubuntu or OSX

I'd like to see his data, pretending he has any. I skipped out during the Win2k era after frustration with manufacturers not providing install media and headaches with blue screens. The activation scheme they added in XP didn't do much to keep people from trying free alternatives either.

Microsoft just spend a ton of money convincing people that Vista was okay. Enthusiasts might be willing to shell out for the upgrade version, but I still haven't seen the thing that's going to compel the average Vista user to upgrade. He certainly didn't name a single advantage in the article.

And, he's nuts if he thinks the Linux community or Apple owners are going to go into reverse for Vista SE.

shortysdohdoh 5 years ago

yooo, that desktop looks pretty. what is that? KDE4.1.96 - what is that?

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

[quote user="shortysdohdoh"]

yooo, that desktop looks pretty. what is that? KDE4.1.96 - what is that?

[/quote]

KDE is a desktop environment for linux. There are many and each are very cusomizable. Here is my desktop about six months or so apart.

3vi1 5 years ago

Very nice desktop, Bob!

Shortysdohdoh - Following up on what Bob said: KDE is one of the two most popular desktops available for Linux (The other being Gnome). The particular distro I'm running is Kubuntu.

Regular Ubuntu use Gnome and the GTK toolkit by default. Kubuntu is Ubuntu with KDE and defaults to Qt-based utilities.

KDE4.1.96 is the KDE4.2 beta version that comes with Kubuntu 9.04 Alpha 3 (should be released as a CD image today!). I always stay on the latest version (you never have to re-install, just run a couple of dist-upgrade commands), and give feedback for the latest Alpha's. I wouldn't necessarily recommend doing that for anyone new to Linux, though.

The final version of Kubuntu 9.04 will be released in April.

3vi1 5 years ago

>> "Due to very heavy traffic we’re seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to the Microsoft.com properties before we post the public beta..." <<

Wouldn't it have been easier for them to just host a torrent? I mean, it works for every Linux distro on the planet.

They could *still* force you to go to the website to get the authentication key, if they want to track how many people are actually testing (not that Win7 doesn't silently "phone home" in the background anyway).

shortysdohdoh 5 years ago

 

i was just reading a little about the OS, since i'm at work i only read a little bit but i'm running xp pro right now with a core 2 duo processor. so if i download the 9.04 build, i should get the 64-bit version right?

also it says that i can download that and just try the OS without installing it, correct? it being an operating system i would have to reformat my PC if i decided i wanted to go with that, right?

and if i should NOT download this since i am in fact new to linux, which version should i download? i will do some researching when i get home today, thank god it's the weekend i have a feeling this is gonna keep me interested for a while.

i'll probably have quite a few more questions though, can i post them here or should i send a message?

 

edit: just read the wikipedia on Ubuntu. so i read about the Wubi installer and a few other handy dandy features. anyway, is it recommended to switch from xp pro to kubuntu? i won't be losing financially at all.

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

[quote user="shortysdohdoh"]i was just reading a little about the OS, since i'm at work i only read a little bit but i'm running xp pro right now with a core 2 duo processor. so if i download the 9.04 build, i should get the 64-bit version right? [/quote]

Yeah the 64bit version is fine.

[quote user="shortysdohdoh"]also it says that i can download that and just try the OS without installing it, correct? it being an operating system i would have to reformat my PC if i decided i wanted to go with that, right?[/quote]

You can burn the CD and boot into the OS from the CD and try everything out without touching your hard drive. This way is a little slow, and you can not save files. There is also Wubi. Wubi is a windows installer for Ubuntu and Kubuntu. It installs just like any other windows program and can be uninstalled from windows if you decide you don't like it.

[quote user="shortysdohdoh"]which version should i download?[/quote]

The version 3vi1 is using is Kubuntu. I am using Ubuntu. I would recommend Kubuntu though as the newer version is really nice. You can always try both with one install though, so don't worry about it to much.

[quote user="shortysdohdoh"]i'll probably have quite a few more questions though, can i post them here or should i send a message?[/quote]

You can just start your own thread here in HotHardware.

 

[quote user="3vi1"]Very nice desktop, Bob![/quote]

ThanksBig Smile Same to you sir.

3vi1 5 years ago

[Edit:  Somehow, half my post got ate - adding it back]

 

>> "Qt-based utitilies"

Qt is a GUI Library or "widget toolkit".  It's what provides applications with an easy way to draw their controls and handle the events/callbacks from them.  Qt is the library that KDE and most KDE apps (KTorrent, KCalc, Kopete... pretty much everything with a capital 'K' in its name + Amarok) use.

As with everything in Linux, there is a popular alternative library:  GTK.  GTK is the library used by the Gnome desktop and its bundled apps.

Just because you install one desktop does not mean you cannot use apps that use the other widget library!  They play nicely with each other.  Most desktop systems will have both installed.  At least, I doubt many KDE users don't use Gimp (GTK-based photoshop-style image manipulator), and I'll bet there are quite a few Gnome users that prefer Amarok (Qt-based audio streamer/player).

>> so if i download the 9.04 build, i should get the 64-bit version right?

Performance between the 64-bit and 32 bit versions is comparable. Historically, the 64-bit version's been more of a pain because there weren't 64-bit versions of Flash available, but that's changed now.

>> also it says that i can download that and just try the OS without installing it, correct?

Correct. The live CD will boot you all the way to the desktop and you can try it out without ever touching your harddrive. Be sure you try the Desktop/LiveCD. The other "alternate installer" CD only gives you the option to install, and uses a text-based installer.

If you want to give it a try, I would start with Ubuntu 8.10 (http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download). Kubuntu 8.10 was the first version to use KDE4 (previously it was based on the very stable KDE3.5) and might give you the wrong impression of KDE as they completely rewrote it from the ground up for v4 and it was in a very beta, even alpha, state at the time.

Also, it's been said that the Gnome desktop is easier for first-time users to navigate (KDE has more options, but can be less intuitive). One of the great things is, just like GTK and Qt... you can install both! If you install the kubuntu-desktop package on Ubuntu, your login screen will have an option to boot a KDE desktop in addition to Gnome... and you can go back and forth.

3vi1 5 years ago

Offtopic (even further than we've gone), there is a GTK library implementation available for Windows. It's kind of cool because using it I wrote a C# GUI app... and the exact same EXE can run on Windows or on Linux (using mono).

It's on!

(streaming music, Steam, CS:Source, EQ, WoW, and WinXP running in a VM.  ;p)

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