Get in on Windows 7 Beta on 1/9/09 (public release)!

Update2: If you are ready to remove Windows 7, feel free to read out How to remove or ‘uninstall’ Windows 7 guide to help you on your way.

Update: Windows 7 Beta is now officially up! You can read the download guide here.

Starting on January 9, 2009, the public will be able to download a copy of Windows 7 Beta. The download will be available to the first 2.5 million users only. You will be able to download it from here. Microsoft is going to go by PST time zone, but the specific time that the download will be available on Friday has not been announced yet. On the website, this is what it says: “Come back the afternoon of January 9″.

You will be able to download 32 or 64 bit versions and it will come in ISO format. You will have to download the ISO, then burn it to a DVD in order to be able to install Windows 7 Beta. If you do not have a program on your computer that allows you to burn DVDs (if you have a DVD burner you already should have a program but in case you don’t), I suggest using ImgBurn. Other alternatives include InfraRecorder, CDBurnerXP or Ashampoo Burning Studio Free.

Prior to downloading Windows 7 Beta, you will be given a product key, when you register to download Windows 7 Beta (you will need a Windows Live account), that you will need to keep handy when you are installing Windows 7 Beta. The Beta version you download on 1/9/09 will expire on 8/1/09.

For more information visit this blog.

Installation of Windows 7 Beta will be no different then all other Windows installations. Unless you have Vista SP1 (Vista SP1 users can upgrade directly from Vista -> Windows 7 Beta.), you will not be able to directly upgrade to Windows 7 Beta – you will need to give Windows 7 Beta its own partition, i.e. do a clean install. You can either clear out your current Windows partition and install Windows 7 Beta there (not recommended), or you can create a new partition for Windows 7 Beta.

To create a new partition, shrink your current partition, or any other task, the default Windows partition manager should do fine (you can find it somewhere under control panel), assuming you are working with NTFS partitions. If you prefer not to use Windows partition manager, or you have Linux partitions that might need to be deleted/shrunk to make space for Windows 7 Beta, or for whatever reason, I suggest using GParted. However, GParted is a Linux program so it cannot run natively in Windows – you will have to download it, burn the iso to a disk and reboot your computer (the ISO can be put on a CD-R/RW, does not have to be a DVD). You can only run GParted as a LiveCD. If you want to be able to use a partition program that you can run in Windows without having to reboot, try Easeus Partition Manager.

As for system requirements, there is no ‘offical’ list of requirements yet, but Microsoft has released a statement saying that the hardware requirements for Windows 7 will be the same and/or similar to Vista’s.

The ‘leaked’ list of system requirements is the following:
For the Basic Windows 7

  • 1 GHz 32-bit processor
  • 512 MB of system memory
  • 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Audio Output
  • Internet access (fees may apply)

Also, since Microsoft was able to run Windows 7 on a netbook, the system requirements cannot be that intensive.

To learn a little about how Windows 7 compares to Vista and XP, visit this and this page. This is the conclusion ZDNET’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes came up with:

What we have here is one set of data points for one particular system, but I think that the results are very promising. The fact that Windows 7 comes out top in three out of four of these tests at this early stage is very promising indeed. The boot time and PCMark Vantage results are particularly good.

Sure, Windows 7 is not XP, and never will be (thankfully). And if you’re put off by things such as activation and DRM, then Windows isn’t the OS for you (good news is there are others to choose from). But if you’re looking for a solid OS then Windows 7 seems ready to deliver just that – a fast, reliable, relatively easy to use platform for your hardware and software.

You can learn about what is new in Windows 7 from here and watch videos about Windows 7 here. Further reading and commentary on Windows 7 can be found here.

Alternative Windows 7 Beta installatin method:

If you do not want to install Windows 7 Beta directly onto your computer, you can try to install it virtually. The advantage of virtulizing Windows 7 Beta vs installing it directly onto your hard drive is that you will be able to run Windows 7 Beta inside of your current OS, the files on your current Windows partition/installation will be untouched, you will not have to give Windows 7 Beta its own partition, and if you want to get rid of Windows 7 Beta you can easily do so with a click of a button. The disadvantage is that virtulizing will be a bit more slow then installing it directly onto your hard drive and you may have some compatibility issues depending on which virtulization software you used.

There are three programs you can use to install Windows 7 Beta virtually. The best one that I recommend using is VirtualBox. However, VirtualBox does not officially support Windows 7 yet but people have tested it out and some got it to work while others didn’t. When installing Windows 7 Beta with VirtualBox, tell VirtualBox that you are installing Vista since, according to Microsoft, Windows 7 Beta is closest to that OS. This guide may be helpful for people who are having trouble getting Guest Additions working in VirtualBox for Windows 7 (you must enable Guest Additions for Windows 7 to work properly in VirtualBox). If you chose to install Windows 7 Beta via VirtualBox, you will not need to burn the ISO to a DVD. You will be able to load the ISO directly from VirtualBox.

If you have Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Tablet PC, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, or Windows Vista Ultimate, you may consider using Virtual PC 2007 instead of VirtualBox. Virtualizing Windows 7 Beta with Virtual PC 2007 works effortlessly.

If you cannot get VirtualBox or Virtual PC 2007 to work with Windows 7 Beta, you can try VMWare Server.

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27 comments

  1. reghakr

    Thanks Ashraf…You’re amazing!!!!

    I visit slickdeals.net from time to time. Never thought they’re have that information.

    However, the download link provided is the same as the one I tried earlier and it failed again.

    I then took all the steps regarding Firefox and it originally popped up a page with information on it, then went to the We did not find any results for betaexp LCID 1033. I’ve sent Change4Change and it’s been about an hour now.

    I guess I’ll need to get a book, but that’s not going to help with the downloading of the file itself issue.

    I tried this site also:
    http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/01/10/hack-to-get-windows-7-beta-product-key-instantly/

    No luck

    Also, which version do you suggest I
    download…32 or 64?

    How’s your download going?

  2. reghakr

    I hear that!!!

    Ya know, I gotta say, this delay from Microsoft is ridiculous.

    Regarding their statement on their webite….
    “The volume has been phenomenal”

    They didn’t expect this, OH come on

    further:
    “as soon as we can ensure a quality download experience”

    What?

    To me, it sounds like the words from a 5-year old child.

    There’s probably 2 billion people going on no sleep around the world since they don’t have enough servers?

    Also, some people have to work.

    It’s like saying sorry Jim, you missed it…tough luck.

    And by the way, my sister called and said it completed. I had her check the file size and it was only 137MB.

    I just now refreshed the page and it’s still not available.

  3. Ashraf
    Author/

    You got 200KB? I was getting 50KB >.>’.

    My torrent download failed…”Error: File Element not Found”.

    And you are right about the torrent issues. But I am desperate right now!

  4. reghakr

    The direct link download failed again, so I asked my sister to download it because she gets a consistent 800KB download speed, where I only get 200KB.

    While looking for another torrent site, I came across this:
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Whatever-You-Do-Do-Not-Download-Windows-7-Via-Torrent-Sites-77471.shtml

    OK, OK, I know all about the piracy issue, and I gave that up a long time ago, but for me, and you I’m assuming, it’s a chance of a lifetime to get your hands on this one.

    They’re basically saying that the torrent sites do not have the correct build and that by using torrents, you could be infected with malicious code and could be fake 0 bytes ISO images.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

  5. reghakr

    Great, Thanks for the link and info!!

    Actually I just downloaded and installed uTorrent earlier today. I fired it up, but it just states “Availability is 0.000″ and but now it keeps toggling back and forth from 0.000 to 7.23

    On the status bar it states DHT: Waiting to login.

    I had to change my Firewall rules and grant it full access before I could even use it.

    I guess I just have to wait my turn.

  6. Ashraf
    Author/

    Jim,

    I found that link and the one for 32 bit on a few sites. However, the link is supposed to be down and it is not working for me.

    Also, if you download it, you will be able to install and run Windows 7 for it’s 30 day trial while you wait to acquire a product key. You can extend it to 120 days: click here for more info.

  7. reghakr

    Hi Ashraf

    Thought you were sleeping.

    Yes, when I positioned my cursor over one of the links, it stated you need a Live ID. I don’t know what you’ll need to do first…start the download and then hit the Keys button, or if you click the Keys button first.

    If your interested, a found a direct link from Microsoft and I’m downloading it now. However, I noticed it stated Ultimate and I’m not sure whether they’re giving the Ultimate version or if it’s Basic, Standard, or Premium as in Vista. It’s actually downloading from downloads\microsoft.com

    Well, forget that, it was supposed to be 2.43 GB and the download finished early and was only 384 MB in size.

    If anybody would like to try, here’s the download link:
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/3/3/633118BD-6C3D-45A4-B985-F0FDFFE1B021/EN/7000.0.081212-1400_client_en-us_Ultimate-GB1CULFRE_EN_DVD.iso

    Anyway you’ll still have to be awake to get the registration key if it does work.

  8. Ashraf
    Author/

    Jim,
    Man I been out for the past couple of hours worrying my head off that I would miss out on Windows 7 and I come home to find out that they delayed the release, for good, bad or ugly.

    Also thx for the links. And are you 100% sure about needing a Windows Live account to get Windows 7 Beta? I am pretty sure you are correct, because I assumed that also, but I just want to make sure. As far as I know you will be able to download Windows 7 Beta but you will need a Windows Live account to attain the product key. Can anyone confirm?

  9. reghakr

    Just noticed this on the homepage:

    Thanks for your interest in the Windows 7 Beta. The volume has been phenomenal—we’re in the process of adding more servers to handle the demand. We’re sorry for the delay and we’ll re-post the Beta as soon as we can ensure a quality download experience.

  10. reghakr

    Hey Ashraf,

    Has it come and gone and I missed it?

    I don’t think so, some forums are bitching and moaning about them not standing by Balmer’s decision and adhere to the realease date.

    The other day there was a download button on the main Windows7 page. They then removed it. They haven’t even bothered to put up a message about the delay of the preview.

    By the way, you’ll need a Windows Live ID to successfully download it. You can sign up for it when you click the download button, but it will just delay the process and you might just loose out.

    I’d create one now at:
    http://home.live.com/

    Also, you might want to clean out your tempoary internet files and set your cache to a larger size.

    I guess I’ll be drinking gallons of Pepsi and prepare to stay up all night!

  11. Ashraf
    Author/

    Bob,
    If you read up on Windows 7 you will see that initial impression of the OS place it better then XP and Vista by most people. Plus it is only Beta, so you lose nothing but time if you don’t like it. Not to mention the incompatibility issue from XP -> Vista won’t occur with Vista -> Windows 7 – Microsoft has made it a point to make Windows 7 fully compatible with Vista programs and hardware.

    GAOTD Lover,
    Whats a few hundred people in the scheme of things? :)

    Jim,
    I need to get my computer ready for Windows 7 too. I should get on that.

  12. Bob

    Windows 7?
    Is that like the latest greatest Vista?
    Or just an upgrade because it floped?

    I’m thinking I’ll wait a year or two till they work a few bugs out. (Geeeezzzzeee)
    I think what really scares me is that it could be an upgraded version of Vista!
    “The 1 year wonder”

    Now is probably the best time to get your “retail” version of XP before every OEM is require to ship their machines with Windows 7.

    Good luck,
    You will need it!

  13. reghakr

    Thabks Ashraf or Lakjin, whoever you are:)

    That’ll be going on my $399.00 E-Machine.

    Goatd Lover,
    Vista has the same exact hard drive requirements. Howerever, you such plan for MUCH more. I just did a complete factory restore on my HP, uninstalled all the HP crap that came pre-installed. I even uninstalled Acrobat Reader and use Foxit Reader. I shrank my C: drive and created a E: drive where I install all my 3rd-party applications.

    After uninstalling, I did the Important Updates from Microsoft, then downloaded and installed SP1. There were about five more important updates after that and I installed them also. My C: drive is now 70.3 GB in size.

    Something to think about.

    Why not post this? It’s a great opputunaty for advanced users to look it over and find it’s defects.

  14. Taylor

    If you’re really interested in trying Windows 7 out, I highly recommend going the VM route. If you decide to try it out in VirtualBox and want something a bit more native-feeling, enable Seamless Mode (Machine->Seamless Mode). You can at least get a feel for the applications and workflow without being sandboxed inside a virtual machine window.

  15. Ashraf
    Author/

    Masyaura,

    If you put it that way, yes. As far as I know there is no ability of Windows to ‘downgrade’ to an earlier version of Windows while keeping all your files. So that being said, if August 1st comes around and your product key for Windows 7 Beta is deactivated, you will have to reinstall Vista (or any other OS) on your computer in order to use it.

    However, chances are that by the time August 1st comes around there will be more opportunities to test out Windows 7 and therefore you will probably be able to keep Windows 7 running on your machine one way or the other after August 1st. But there is no guarantee of this so don’t depend on this as a course of action.

    As I said in my post, I do not recommend installing Windows 7 Beta over your current Windows installation because Windows 7 Beta is well, Beta, and it has a limited life span.

    If you are concerned about dual booting, you should consider installing Windows 7 Beta virtually.