FAQ: How to get the Windows 7 beta

Microsoft this week is putting the new OS in everyone's hands

Late yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the public beta for Windows 7, the follow-on and follow-up to Vista, which from all signs the company is trying to forget as fast as possible.

CEO Steve Ballmer, in a surprisingly subdued keynote -- no real shouting -- made the announcement Wednesday night at the International CES. It wasn't much of a surprise, what with leaks to file-sharing sites and hints posted on Microsoft's own site in recent weeks.

Still, it's a new version of Windows, even if some have dubbed it "Vista, a lot better." Oh, wait, that was Ballmer himself, back in October.

And because it's fresh and shiny, there are plenty of people eager to try it out, wanting to decide for themselves whether Microsoft's hit a home run this time or just smacked another Vista. But where can you get it, how do you install it and what do you need to patch after you have it on your PC?

Questions, everyone has questions. We have some of the answers.

When can I download the beta?

Starting Friday, January 9. Microsoft hasn't said exactly when during the day, but in the past it has sometimes opened download gates worldwide at the same time and other times a rolling local time to spread out the load.

If you subscribe to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) or TechNet, you can grab it today from here.

Where do I get it?

The public download will be posted to the Windows 7 site, here, Microsoft said. The beta will also be posted to Microsoft's IT-oriented Springboard Series site, which will add a "Windows 7" tab to the existing Windows XP and Windows Vista tabs already there.

What do I need to install the beta?

Microsoft's set the minimum requirements for the beta as a 1GHz processor, 1GB of memory, 16GB of free hard drive space and 128MB of graphics memory on a chipset or card able to support DirectX 9 graphics.

Those hardware requirements, by the way, are virtually identical to what Microsoft now says you have to have to install any version of Vista except for the entry-level Home Basic.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Windows 7

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?