Update 6:59PM: As several readers have noticed, the Windows 7 beta has been delayed due to heavy demand. Microsoft has not announced a new date for the beta. And also, Steve Ballmer's pants are now on fire.
Microsoft is making the beta version of Windows 7 available today to 2.5-million users. There are several things to keep in mind if you want to download and use the beta version of this upcoming operating system. Wired has put together some notes and reminders for potential users.
I know a few of you are already using the Windows 7 beta. If you're already a user or if you've installed the program today, I'd love to hear your impressions. TheFeed's excellent Brian Leahy has already posted his first impressions (which, despite what some ill-informed people think, is not the same as a review). Now let's get to those notes, courtesy of Wired!
- "Product keys will only be made available to the first 2.5 million people to register at Microsoft's official Windows 7 Beta site. Demand will be huge, so prepare to act quickly.
- Microsoft has not announced a specific time on Friday for the release, but we can expect it will be later in the day so the west coast of North America isn't left out. Update: The beta will be available on Friday afternoon. Other links have surfaced, but they aren't 100% working and they aren't official anyway. Read the details in our newer post.
- Windows 7 Beta 1 will be offered as an ISO image. It's around 2.5 or 3 gigabytes, so you will need a DVD burner if you want to install it.
- You will be required to register before downloading so Microsoft can give you a product key.
- It will be build 7000.
- The beta will only support Windows Vista SP1 to Windows 7 upgrades. If you're not running Vista SP1 right now, upgrade before you try to install the Windows 7 beta.
- There is also a clean install option for the Win7 beta.
- There is no upgrade path from XP.
- There's only one version of the beta, which Microsoft says "is roughly equivalent the Ultimate edition of Windows Vista."
- The Windows 7 Beta will expire on August 1. You will probably be forced to go back to using Vista SP1 on August 1 (or maybe upgrade to Win7 Beta 2?).
- English, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Hindi versions will be available Friday.
- Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions will be available (except for Hindi, which only gets a 32-bit version)."