Windows 7 Beta Availability Extended to Feb. 9
Microsoft on Friday announced that it has extended the general public availability of its Windows 7 Beta yet again, with a new final date of Feb. 9 to get it. The deadline doesn't apply to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and Microsoft TechNet Plus subscribers.
For those who partially downloaded the beta, Feb. 11 is the last day to complete that download.
Those who don't have product keys will still be able to get them, even after Feb. 11, according to Microsoft's announcement. Without the product key, the beta will work but it then will expire after just 30 days.
Microsoft plans to end the Windows 7 Beta on Aug. 1, and a release candidate version is expected to follow. The release candidate version will be announced after Microsoft gathers sufficient feedback, according to a Microsoft forum.
"The feedback we get in the early stages of Beta will help enable us to discuss the next Windows 7 milestone," a TechNet post explained.
ZDNet writer Ed Bott deduced that the Windows 7 release candidate would be available after July 1 and before Aug. 1, based on language in the Windows 7 Beta release notes. If so, that would give beta testers some time to move to the latest version.
Microsoft's view is that the beta should not be used with valuable user data. While many in a TechNet forum have been requesting an upgrade path from the beta, Microsoft hasn't provided that assurance so far.
Currently, Microsoft is saying that not all antivirus programs will work with the Windows 7 Beta. Three vendors have compatible solutions, including AVG, Kaspersky and Symantec, according to Microsoft's blog.
For those looking for an overview of Windows 7's features, a detailed list is provided by Tim Sneath, director of the Windows and Silverlight technical evangelism team.
The general public can get the beta at the Windows 7 download page here.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.