Microsoft Pulls Plug on Windows 7 Beta Download

Dennis Faas's picture

Time's up for users hoping to test run the Windows 7 beta, as today Microsoft blocked the ability to download the preview edition.

"Sorry," the website has been telling users since midnight, February 9, "Windows 7 Beta downloads are no longer available." Anyone with interrupted downloads will be able to complete them, and those with a copy will still be able to access their product keys. No new downloads will be possible at this time.

The beta edition, which had been open for download by the general public since January this year, will no longer be on Microsoft's website. However those lucky enough to have subscriptions to Technet (Microsoft's paid-subscription resource service for IT professionals) or be members of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) will still be able to access the Windows 7 beta code. (Source:

When the beta version was first released, Microsoft had indicated that February 10 would be the last day that it could be downloaded, and that it would only be available to the first 2.5 million people. Originally the cutoff date was set for January 24, but Microsoft indicated that consumer demand necessitated a longer download period. The announcement that midnight was the final limit was only made about an hour beforehand, and whether or not the 2.5 million person cap was exceeded or not is unknown. (Source:

When will Windows 7 Final be Released?

Now that the beta version of Windows 7 is no longer available, does it mean we are closer to the release of Windows 7? In the past, Microsoft has released several beta versions of new Windows operating systems before making them commercially available. Typically, each one is publicly released and improved upon until a release candidate was put forth. That process often took months, with the final versions on shelves up to a year later.

This time, Microsoft seems to be taking the plunge and is moving straight from the first Windows 7 beta to the release candidate benchmark. Bypassing the usual process of trial and error will shave some time off the expected commercial release date for Windows 7, but the final ship date is still, in all likelihood, a long way off.

The beta versions will expire on August 1 this year, meaning that those with the beta version will either need to upgrade to a more recent version, or replace their Windows beta with a reinstalled older version. Since Microsoft only plans to release one beta, the release candidate 1 shouldn't be too far behind.

Good news for those who can't wait to try the next big thing from Microsoft.

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