Windows 7 beta: get it tonight

The general public will be able to download the beta of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system from 9 January, Microsoft said today, with some customers getting access today.

Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said Microsoft MSDN, TechNet and TechBeta subscribers could get access to the beta, leaked to the internet in late December, today, with everyone else having to wait a day to get access from the Windows 7 website.

(Credit: Renai LeMay/ZDNet.com.au)

"I'm thrilled to announce the availability of the Windows 7 beta, which is on track to deliver simplicity and reliability," Ballmer told the audience, during a lengthy Microsoft presentation which also included sessions from Australian comedy music act Tripod.

Windows Server 2008 R2, which is believed to be based on the Windows 7 code, will also be made available to testers. In addition, Microsoft announced that its Windows Live suite of downloadable consumer products had left beta status and would see some integration with Facebook (including the Ninemsn services that are integrated with Live in Australia).

CNET.com.au's sister site ZDNet.com.au has had access to an unofficial version of the software this week, and has posted screenshots here and first impressions here.

Before Ballmer's speech, top Windows executive Bill Veghte said the company was telling PC makers that Windows 7 might or might not be ready in time for this year's holiday season.

"I'm telling them that it could go either way," Veghte told CNET News in an interview. "We will ship it when the quality is right, and earlier is always better, but not at the cost of ecosystem support and not at the cost of quality."

Veghte also said that the economy has been factored into his marketing plans for Windows, which is currently being featured in an advertising push initially estimated at several hundred million dollars over several years.



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djmick posted a comment   

Windows 7 is what Microsoft wanted vista to be, Vista shouldnt have ever been created, they should've left it at xp, developed windows 7, tune it right and then release it, this way it would have been plenty of time to get the drivers updated for it, fix the bugs that may come from it. Vista was a disaster and 7 is the solution to it pretty much. So whats gonna happen when ms take down the xp service, everyone will be forced on vista while 7 hasnt been released therefore creating more problems. The biggest problem with vista was drivers and compatibility, how is 7 gonna differ from this or will it be vista all over again.

 

mickey posted a comment   

I dunno... I've read a few W7 beta commentaries, and I still get the feeling that MS are pushing us to work like traditional Mac users (mouse over keyboard) - aka - Form is more important than function.

I left the Mac community well over a decade ago - because MS at that time were listening to users who wanted to work more closely with the OS & GUI to deliver results in less time, yet elements like the Vista ribbon and others are making us step through multiple mouse clicks to achieve what could have been performed with a single key sequence last year (not taking hands off the keyboard).

Currently I'm beginning to think I may go back to Apple if I'm getting the same user experience paradigm - Mac does it a lot better if I can't do it the way 'I' want to.

(I just bought a Macbook without regrets for my son - House has 7 Windows systems - and now 1 Mac - the change may be starting after many years)

Look out Steve, Bill & Co. Differentiation and Functionality is how we choose products Form is down the list. If they all are the same - we'll go with the experience.

 

graham.lv posted a comment   

It's 2:14 AM Friday in Western Australia, but only 9:14 AM in Redmond. So, I guess they mean USA Friday. Surely they could see what country you are coming from and read your clock.

Oh, well, maybe 5:01 today!

 

RichardM1 posted a comment   
Australia

Is it just me or is Windows 7 just, well, YAWN.

Yes I a Machead, I'm the first to admit it. However, not to the extent that if I see something innovative from Microsoft that wouldn't be excited.

In Windows 7 I don't see innovation, I see an attempt to make Vista what should have been at the start. I certainly DON'T see it as being a worthy adversary to Mac OS X.

OK it's faster, it needed to be. Is it more stable and reliable, we shall see. Does the Registry file still exist, is it still the cancer that eventually requires surgery like it always has?

Microsoft are saying they are blurring the lines between, TV, PC, etc. Once again YAWN. It been done.

Come on Redmond - inspire me. So far no inspiration here.




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