Believe it or not, the public downloads of Windows 7 Beta are now just hours away. Windows 7 Beta is available for download via this link. Microsoft has already made available for download the first fully-fledged Beta of Windows 7 (just the Ultimate edition of the platform) as of January 7, 2009, the kick-off day of the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. However, access to the initial Beta versions of the Windows 7 client was opened exclusively to TechNet Plus and MSDN subscribers.
A couple of days later, this aspect is about to change, as the first public downloads of Win7 Beta are on the verge of going live. Ahead of releasing Windows 7 Beta 1 to the general public, the software giant warned that the Beta program had limited participation, and that downloads would be discontinued once a sufficient number of users grabbed the bits of the operating system.
“On January 9th, the Windows 7 Beta will be available for Windows enthusiasts to download,” Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, revealed.
“The Windows 7 Beta is going to be available download-only (we’re not sending out physical media), and available for a limited time to the first 2.5 million people who download the beta. The Windows 7 Beta will be available in English, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Hindi, and each language will be available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions (except Hindi, which will only be available in 32-bit). Because the Windows 7 Beta will be offered download-only, it will be provided to you as an ISO image (an .iso file) that you download.”
Users will be able to download either the 32-bit, or the 64-bit flavor of Windows 7 Beta. Due to the fact that the bits are packaged as ISO images, Windows 7 Beta 1 will have to be burnt on a DVD prior to installation. Still, because it is delivered as an ISO, Win 7 Beta can also be effortlessly installed into a Virtual PC 2007 virtual machine. Microsoft informed that the Beta bits of Windows 7 would expire on August 1, 2009.
“The Windows 7 Beta only supports Windows Vista SP1 to Windows 7 upgrades. So, if you intend to do an upgrade – be sure it is on a PC running Windows Vista with Service Pack 1. We are not yet announcing anything regarding finalized upgrade paths for Windows 7,” LeBlanc added. “The Windows 7 Beta will be only available in one edition, which is roughly equivalent [to] the Ultimate edition of Windows Vista.”
Windows 7 Beta is available for download here (direct download links for both 32-bit and 64-bit Win 7 Beta).