CES 2009: Windows 7 hits public beta on Friday – here's how to give it a try

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windows-7-beta.jpgAs of this Friday – the 9th January, Microsoft is going to release a beta version of its new operating system – Windows 7 – to the first 2.5 million people to download it. The new OS is eagerly anticipated, which Microsoft must be pleased about, given that Vista has been a PR disaster.

Windows 7 promises a tonne of improvements to Windows’ basic functionality. It’s quicker, less bloated and more secure than Windows Vista – which suffered from bloat and compatibility issues on release. Although it’s dramatically improved since, many users are refusing to upgrade from XP, and Microsoft continues to trickle users away to OS X.

So, do you wanna try it? What you’ll need to do is get over to the Windows 7 site tomorrow, armed with a blank DVD. Pick the 64-bit or 32-bit version of the OS, and download the .ISO file. Burn it to a DVD, using your favourite burning program (I’m a big fan of ImgBurn), then chuck it in the drive and reboot.

The disc will only support an upgrade from Vista SP1, so if you’re still stuck on XP, then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Happily, though, the upgrade should only take 45 minutes or so, and a couple of reboots. Don’t forget to backup all your data first, though – remember this is a beta. Also, remember that it’ll expire on August 1st 2009.

That’s an interesting date, because it strongly suggests that Microsoft are firmly on track to their target date of a summer 2009 full release for the OS. Come Friday, I’ll be happily downloading the OS, and I’ll spend the weekend fiddling with it to deliver you a full report on the beta on Monday, including a close look at how it copes with gaming – I suspect the answer, at least at first, will be ‘badly’.

Windows 7 (via Microsoft Windows 7 Blog)

For more coverage from CES 2009 in Las Vegas, you’ll want to be clicking here.

Duncan Geere