(Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft Makes Windows 7 beta Briefly Available to the Public

Although Windows 7 Beta 1 has been making the rounds on torrent sites for the past few weeks, the operating system was first officially made available Thursday to MSDN, TechBeta, and Technet subscribers. Steve Ballmer was quite exuberant about the official release during his keynote at CES.

Friday was the big day for the general public to lay their hands on the Windows 7 beta. However, Microsoft's servers were quickly overloaded and downloaders were greeted with "Server is too busy" errors. Microsoft's official Windows 7 site is graced with the following message:

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.

For those that are simply too impatient to wait until Microsoft's official Windows 7 pages come back online, you can still directly download the 32-bit ISO and 64-bit ISO from Microsoft's servers. However, using the direct link means that you won't get a product activation key from Microsoft. As a result, the installation will go into limited functionality mode after 30 days.

For those that are patient enough to wait for Microsoft’s official download page to come back online, a product key will be provided with your ISO download which will be good for use on up to three different machines. The beta will expire on August 1, 2009.

Updated 1/10/2009
Windows 7 Beta 1 is now available again from Microsoft. You can download the ISO and get a key from this download location.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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