Microsoft has now released Windows 7 Beta 1 to the general public. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available, however it's only available to the first 2.5 million people who download it. Note that the beta expires on 1 August 2009. To learn more about the beta see this Windows 7 Beta FAQ.
Update: Microsoft has confirmed that they are trying to address the problems with accessing their site due to heavy demand for the beta. For the moment the direct download links for the Windows 7 .ISO files are as follows: 32-bit, 64-bit. You will still have to obtain a beta key through the main beta site once it becomes available again.
*Update on Windows 7 Beta Availability
Due to very heavy traffic weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to the Microsoft.com properties before we post the public beta. We want to ensure customers have the best possible experience when downloading the beta, and we will be updating this page once the beta goes live. Stay tuned! We are excited that you are excited!
I tried downloading the 32bit version via the link i posted above and the download kept breaking. I've now started the 64bit download (as I actually intend to move to 64bit with 7) and the link is holding..
Well I am up and running 64 bit Windows 7. And the way I know it's 64 bit is because I am using the 64 bit Windows Internet Explorer. It placed my sidebar on the top of the screen which I guess it defaults to.
I love it. The graphics are much finer tuned than what they were in Vista. But, what happened to Dreamscenes or whatever they called it? Also though the stickies is much better than before it also needs some fine tuning. You should be able to print a sticky if you desire to.
I had to reformat and do it all over again to get everything including the sidebar working right. I don't exactly know why it did not work the first time. However, a couple more hours later and all works fine. I have the 64 bit version and it's overall an unbelievable performance. The graphics are way better than Vista ever will be, the Taskbar is clearly a major improvement, and of all things at least in my hardware it seems dramatically improved in backwards compatibillity. There are things that I think could use some tuning and beefing up so to speak. One example is the Stickies. That one needs ability to print. Hopefully if this takes off then maybe 64 bit browsing will also get some beefing up. what are your thoughts?
Just out of interest, I thought I would give Windows 7 beta a go on my laptop that had previously wanted nothing to do with Vista. What a pleasant surprise, it installed easily and is running well with no obvious problems. Hm..........perhaps there is something in the criticism that has been levelled at Microsoft regarding the "shortfalls" in vista especially when installed on notebooks!!!!!!!!!!Makes you wonder!!!