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Getting ready for Windows 7 beta 1 - FAQ

I know that some of you are sick of hearing about Windows 7 already, but given the amount of email I've received with regards to the public beta being made available on Friday, you have a lot of questions about how you should prepare for testing. Here's a quick FAQ based on the feedback I've received so far:

I know that some of you are sick of hearing about Windows 7 already, but given the amount of email I've received with regards to the public beta being made available on Friday, you have a lot of questions about how you should prepare for testing. Here's a quick FAQ based on the feedback I've received so far:

  • Q: What are the system requirements for Windows 7 beta 1? The same as for Vista. Put simply you need:  - 1GHz CPU  - 1GB of RAM  - 16GB of free hard drive space  - 128MB of graphics memory on a card that supports DirectX 9 or higher You also need a DVD writer drive and a program that allows you to burn discs from .ISO files (such as ImgBurn).
  • Q: When will the public beta be made available? Friday 9th January, 2009.
  • Q: What time? At present I don't know, could be midnight PDT, maybe 9am PDT but these are just guesses.
  • Q: Can I get hold of it any sooner? No, not unless you have access to TechNet Plus or MSDN or you are on the beta team (and these downloads are really slow today ...).
  • Q: Where should I watch for the download? Keep an eye on this page.
  • Q: How big are the downloads? 32-bit - 2.5GB (approx) 64-bit - 3.2GB (approx)
  • Q: What flavor of Windows 7 is being made available? Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Q: Does the beta expire? Yes, on 1st August. This from the EULA: "This software will stop running on August 1, 2009. You may not receive any other notice. You may not be able to access data used with the software when it stops running."
  • Q: How many people can download the beta? Microsoft is making 2.5 million activation keys available. I'm not sure if Microsoft is limiting the number of downloads or not.
  • Q: Can I install the beta without the activation key? Yes, but the trial only lasts 30 days (although you can rearm it the same as Vista, giving you 120 days of usage).
  • What languages will Windows 7 beta 1 support? English, German, Japanese, Arabic and Hindi (Hindi only available on 32-bit).
  • Q: Can I install Beta 1 into a VMware/Virtual PC virtual machine? Yes.
  • Q: Can I upgrade from Vista? Yes, as long as you have SP1 installed.  - Check out the Vista to 7 upgrade gallery!
  • Q: Can I upgrade from XP? No. It seems that for the beta that Vista is the only valid upgrade route (final Ultimate Extra for Vista users perhaps?). I expect this to change for the final release to include XP.
  • Q: Can I uninstall Windows 7 and go back to my old OS? No.
  • Q: What about that MP3 bug? There's a patch available.
  • Q: What else do I need? If you use any of the Windows Live stuff then you need to head over to Windows Live Essentials to find the apps you need.
  • Q: Is there an antivirus program that can run on Windows 7?According to Microsoft there are three vendors so far with compatible products - Symantec, AVG and Kaspersky. Also, according to Arm. A. Geddon, AntiVir (which is free) also works.
  • Q: Any other suggestions? Be careful! This is a beta so don't go installing it on your main system or your only system! Back up any vital data first.

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