How to get the Windows 7 beta today

Numbers are limited - here's what you need to know

Windows 7

The public beta of Windows 7 is available today. Here's how you can get hold of a copy.

We've taken this information from the official Windows Team Blog post, but interest is clearly huge as the page is currently down with a 'Server is too busy' message. But like the l33t haxx0rs we are, we pulled the information from Google's cache.

The Windows 7 beta is available in English, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Hindi, and each language is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions (except Hindi which will only be available in 32-bit). The beta is build 7000.

Head to the Windows 7 page to grab the download – it's currently under heavy load so you might not get through first time. Or the second. Keep trying.

The Windows 7 beta will only be made available to the first 2.5 million people.

You'll need to register in order to obtain a product key.

There's only one edition of the Windows 7 beta, "which is roughly equivalent to the Ultimate edition of Windows Vista," according to the Windows Team Blog.

The download is an ISO image of around 3GB. After downloading the ISO image, you'll need a DVD burner to burn it to DVD in order to install it.

To install the Windows 7 beta as an upgrade, you'll need to be running Windows Vista SP1.

There is also a clean install option for the Windows 7 beta. So if you're a Vista hater who's still running XP, that's your only option.

The Windows 7 beta will expire on 1 August 2009.

Remember to back up your data before you install Windows 7. As Brandon LeBlanc writes on the Windows Team Blog: "As much as the Windows 7 beta completely rocks, part of the beta process is discovering bugs and reporting those bugs. Some of those bugs could possibly lead to data loss. I recommend using Windows Vista's Backup and Restore features to ensure your information is backed up before trying out the Windows 7 beta."

If you have any technical questions about Windows 7, such as what partition size you'll need for dual-booting Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you may get the answer on TechNet's new Windows 7 forums.