back to article Microsoft smooths Windows 7 snafu

Microsoft's Windows 7 public beta is now live, a day after Redmond servers seemed unable to handle traffic from would-be downloaders and the company announced a delay in the code's release. A company spokeswoman emailed The Reg at around noon Pacific time today to say the beta is available to the web public at large. Redmond …


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  1. Patrick

    Free Zune

    All those who had difficulty downloading Windows 7 beta will get a free 30GB Zune. Those who did get to download Windows 7 then were a tad disappointed that it felt like running Vista, no 30GB Zune for you.

  2. Alex Wright

    Windows 7...

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    My essential viewing before even thinking about going to work! This guy has a wicked sense of humour!

  4. Chris Irvine


    to install? fuckin bloatware, they make the code big because HD space isn't the precious commodity it once was, but 16gb is taking the piss...... i got a new laptop, had vista home premium pre-installed, so i can't downgrade, and it's so fuckin slow (and this laptop is no slouch) so i dread to think what win7 will be like :(

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Vista is a shambles and I tout XP to anyone who asks for a recommendation. Now though, M$ seem to have got it right with Windows 7 and I'm excited about using it.

    Anonymous because I don't feel comfortable congratulating Microsoft :D

  6. Niall Wallace

    Windows 7 : Vista in Disguise?

    Tried Win7 on a VPC yesterday.

    From what I see it's Vista in Blue, just as slow, and not striking difference. But I am running on an old 3Ghz P4 with only 2Gb of ram.

    Need to buy a new machine to try it out on then.

    Pretty much what I expected.

  7. Dave
    Thumb Up

    Meh, why complain, its free

    Was watching the W7 team blog and the usual retards were out in force saying "blah blah poor way to treat customers". Given a choice of fighting for hours to get constantly kicked off or wait a day and have a key and it downloaded in less than 2 hours the latter was much better.

    Painless install, 25 mins from Booting from cd to being on the desktop. Only 1 thing not working but thats because its a proprietary dell card and they didnt create Vista drivers for it. It flies, it really does and thats on a super low spec system.

    Thank you MS for not listening to the big box makers, it really does make a difference

    Off for a new HD to put it on my gaming rig :D

  8. Emo


    Can't download through Firefox 3 :(

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One word...

    One word to solve the bandwidth problem:


  10. William Bronze badge
    Thumb Down


    When are you on "live at the Apollo"? Just so I don't go that week and end up wasting my money.

  11. Dominic Kua
    Thumb Down

    Very smooth,

    So smooth in fact that clicking the "download" button seems to do nothing, at least not in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera or Chrome.

    Looks like I'll have to torrent the iso to try it.

  12. James

    Crazy traffic volumes

    2.5 million people, each getting a file over 2 Gb in size - 5 petabytes of Internet traffic. About half a million dollars, if you serve it through Amazon's CloudFront; MS are using Akamai, who are a bit more secretive about pricing. I wonder if this means even Akamai had to beef up infrastructure to deal with this traffic surge across their tens of thousands of servers?

  13. Conor Turton

    I wouldn't bother...

    Currently running it. Yes it is faster than Vista but not massively so. A few GUI tweaks seem to have done a job of making it feel quicker.

    The UI is just bollox. There's now too many places to launch things from. Stuff like the enhancements in WMP have been virtually hidden away and can only be accessed if you're lucky enough to work out that you need to put it in mini player mode then press the playlist button and then there's an icon for it.

    The taskbar is a fucking joke. Either you end up with a load of icons where the only way to tell the difference between a running app and a shortcut is the fact that one of them appears slightly raised, or you alter the option to show text for running apps and end up with a mish-mash of window switching tabs and shortcut icons all mixed up. Even worse is messenger if you use the show text as it no longer puts an icon in the system tray so you have a windows switcher button and if you click on it to show the contact list, you end up with two window switcher buttons for it. As for the system tray, we won't even go there.

    People are raving about the power button on the menu. It's the same as Vista except it uses words instead of icons. Wow.

    Aero peek. Has there ever been a more pointless thing to put in an OS?

    People have commented on how much simpler the Networking Center is. Are they fucking blind? It is the most busy looking window of the lot. As for homegroup, it's broken. If you want to change the password, it'll tell you you need to be in a "Home" location even though the location says you are. So you delete it and go to recreate another only to be told you can't for the same reasons.

    Yes I know it's BETA and to expect things but it has been widely bandied around as being feature complete, completely stable and ready for release etc when the truth is that it isn't anywhere near.

    Good things? The Library feature is nice if a little confusing at first - stick with it. Err...err...err.....oh yeah, it's quite a stripped out OS - no mail, messenger, movie maker etc. There was something else....ah Device and Printer manager is a nice touch.

    In short, it's not worth bothering with yet. Stick with Vista. I've used vlite to create a customised stripped out Vista installation and I swear it feels as quick as Win 7 does once you've got rid of the crap.

  14. Ross Fleming
    Thumb Down

    Download manager

    Only thing wrong is the honkingly bad Active X download manager. Try it in Firefox - give up quickly.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    They could just make he damn download available as a torrent and take the strain off their servers...

  16. Frank Silver badge

    Waits for a car

    I'm waiting for a major car manufacturer to offer public beta release of new model cars. That will be a safe and enjoyable experience I'm sure.

  17. Scott Fornwall
    Thumb Down

    Windows 7 download?

    Yeah, well so much for the download.

    I can get to the download page, but then...nothing.

    Click on download, nothing happens.

    What a disappointment!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Preaching to the converted...

    Well I thought I'd download the beta and give Microsoft another chance, however the site appears to require IE and Windows to download so it would appear only those still members of their cult can see their plans.

    I guess their either not confident enough to risk negative views from those who have discovered the alternatives, or they’re still unable to write standards compliant code.

    Nothing new to see here… move along…..

  19. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    it's still broken

    I just tried to download the 64-bit version. Nothing happened.

    Of course, I _was_ connecting to deepest Mickeysoftville using FireFox from a Mac... I suspect that someone wants to park a little Active-X thingie on punter's systems, and to do it without telling anyone. As that won't work with FF or Macs...

  20. Thomas Silver badge

    Download seems to work for Internet Explorer 7 users only?

    Or maybe it's just me?

  21. Jeremy

    Attempt to download with Firefox...


    Requires an ActiveX control to download? Yuck.

  22. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Obviously it will exceed expectations

    Nobody expects Windows 7 to be usable. It's probably one of the last versions of an aincient legacy system.

  23. Greg

    Smegging BT

    This comes out and my phone line is dead. Damn you, BT!

  24. Luke
    Paris Hilton


    Seems to me the servers crashed when some people posted greasemonkeyscripts to keep refreshing the product key page and half the world decided to use it at the same time. DDOS attack!

    Paris because she would of known better than them and stuck to Linux

  25. Mikel

    Downloaded with FF3

    When you get to the page with the download button, view source. You'll see the URI down near the bottom. Paste that into a new tab address bar, and you're off to the races.

    Have seen comments that we're all sharing from a pool of five keys for 7/32 and five for 7/64 to the 2.5 million users limit may be a red herring.

  26. Craig

    Download bug fix...

    If your having problems downloading...

    View the page source, and look for the "btnDownload" (on mine it was line 71)... reading across it has an "onclick" attribute, with the URL in there... basically copy from the "http://" to the ".aspx", and load it in your browser.

    Oh, and if your wondering... no, I have no idea why they built the page like that (dam retards... they could have used a simple, works anywhere, link... aka "a" tag).

  27. Johan Vavare

    only IE7, and now blocked from Thailand !

    To others above, yes, you can only download in IE. But that's not very surprising.

    You can only get your XP updates in IE as well.

    What's more of a surprise to me is that - after verifying, switching to IE and verifying again,

    i press 'Download now' and get this:

    - - -


    The web site you are accessing has been blocked by the requested of The Communication Authority of Thailand."


    And, in Thai, an obviously (in this case) misplaced comment that the content is illegal, obscene or otherwise inappropriate... :)

    Well, I guess they just don't want to give the bandwidth for it.

    Did you say 16 GB. ? Then imagine how many surfers here (in the dreamland of pirated software) who wants to download this beta right away. Probably more than the CAT think they can manage on their overseas connections...

    But, I kinda like that Microsoft gets blocked for 'inappropriate content' - hehe

    Cheers :)

  28. Alexander Hanff
    Thumb Down


    One would have thought MS would like to try and recapture some of the Linux/Mac market share so it is a little odd they would require you to use IE7 + 3rd Party ActiveX control to download the beta.

  29. Alexander Hanff
    Thumb Down

    Even more fail

    Windows Defender doesn't like the ActiveX Control

  30. Repo
    Thumb Down

    M$ vs FF3

    What a joke that you can't use FF to download it. When will these corps realise that BS like that has the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Irvine

    It might say 16GB, but I'm playing around with it at the moment and it hasn't peaked over 6 yet. As for assuming it will be crap, give it a try before commenting negatively would ya?

  32. Lukas Hopwood

    For those using Firefox...

    View source, grab the link to the ISO, paste into the address bar - it'll load the Akami download manager as a Java applet then.

  33. Woenk

    Best joke ever

    I am highly amused of comments like "better than Vista".

    Tried it out yesterday and besides a few tweaks and a slightly changed desktop, it is absolutely the same.

    Hell, even the date of the .DLLs is the same as Vista (June 2006).

    Rebranding seems to be the way of getting "new" products out nowadays. Nvidia got away with it, so why should MS not try it also ?! :D

  34. Mark
    IT Angle

    You need 32-Bit IE to download.

    I originally tried downloading it with my Firefox and no dice. Then tried My default IE (64-Bit), it tried to install the active-x component and then just did nothing, so eventually tried in with IE in 32-bit compatability mode and all burst into life.

    I'm betting the active -x component just doesn't work with 64-bit. Bit crappy considering everything in currently moving across to 64-bit.....

  35. Andy Southcombe

    Downloaded and installed

    Well I downloaded it in about 40 minutes and it installed seemlessly. My first impressions are that this is definitely the OS Vista should have been! Everything runs much faster and the UAC is less intrusive. All my Vista drivers work fine to boot.

    So far so good, shame I'll have to go back to Vista once the beta expires. MS should do the decent thing and give a free upgrade to everyone (like me) who had Vista forced on them despite asking the PC maker for an alternative!

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    I have had it installed for a day now. So far it seems a lot quicker than Vista, once you get used to where they have hidden things and turn off that annoying security nag. The only problem I had with it was with a sound driver, and had to search on the internet for one that would work with it. It boots quicker and seems to load programs quicker. This is on an 'old' Pentium 4 3.0Ghz with 2.5gb RAM. I think I quite like it so far, but time will tell!

  38. Farai
    Jobs Halo

    How to download using firefox

    1) So, follow numerous online instructions which direct you via technet, and hopefully you arrive at the download button.

    2) Next, you 'view page source', after you have copied your Activation key/saved the page etc..

    3) Find ".iso", and copy the url up to that part (e.g. www.microshizzle/download/latest_junk.iso), and paste it into a new tab, and voila,

    4) download manager begins :)

    Holy Jobs coz his creations are simple in their beauty; beautifully simple :)

  39. N Silver badge

    Tried but...

    Microsoft expect you to be running Internet Explorer with Active X so that means windows of some sort. Every person who values their sanity knows the two are a recipe for disaster, Internet Explorer is a shit magnet attracting every form of exploit you could possible not want on your computer & windows has a less than perfect reputation for 'security' with its shortcomings exposed in this forum on many occasions.

    In the light of competition from Linux & Mac you would think these dorks at Redmond would accept that users may run other operating systems & welcome different browsers to download & try their software.

    Sadly, their tiny minds have failed to grasp the reality that competition is challenging their offering & excluding significant groups of users does nothing to win them back, if that is ever possible.

  40. Jeremy

    Ugh... Bad pun...

    That desktop background... Do they think that's funny?

  41. Matt

    its ok...

    I downloaded through a newsgroup and then used my proper key... didnt take long at all..

    Cant use aero as the machine im testing with is a SFF Dell 2.4ghz HT P4 with 2gb ram - that made a bit of a meal out of vista, so im quite chuffed that everything is smooth :) justabout to send a bug report as preview is broken here... hovering just displays a black box about the height of the task bar...

    and I hate the new taskbar.. quicklaunch and apps in any old order... also trying to figure whats running is a bit of a nightmare!

    Im surprised that my i-catcher webpage doesnt recognise this as vista, so cant install my CCTV widget..

  42. Charles Manning

    @Conor Turton

    Aero peek does seem pretty pointless, but not nearly as pointless as some of the window effects.

    My pet hate is the "jello wobble" effect that you get in gnome when you open/ move a window. WRT with that? How the hell does it do anything to aid the user in understanding the UI?

    But then I guess KDE 4 is pretty close too. All those pixel shows that do nothing useful either. As pointless as the Northern Lights.

    Sure, use graphics to **enhance** a UI, but don't use them just to show that the programmers have figured out how to make some cool wobble sequence.

    Mac OSX UI has a lot of graphical devices, but these are almost always used in a useful way. The "window poar" when you open/minimise a screen actually does help you remember which dock item it is hiding behind.

    Mark Shuttleworth has said that Ubuntu needs to be more like the Mac. That's fine so long as he fully appreciates that Mac OSX UI is designed for understanding and not just to play with pixels. Unfortunately very few people understand the difference and it is far too easy to end up with annoying graphical devices that do nothing useful.

  43. Anonymous Coward


    All those who had difficulty downloading Windows 7 beta will get a free 30GB Zune. Those who did get to download Windows 7 will get TWO 30GB Zunes....

  44. N Silver badge

    Another case of...

    The emperors new clothes?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It does download in Firefox, they just buggered their Javascript

    If you copy the address as others have said it will use a Java based download tool rather than ActiveX. They buggered up by a.) using a Javascript event and b.) using location.href is not particularly friendly to other browsers.

    Otherwise I find 7 a great improvement on XP. It runs just as well as XP did on my 6 year old ThinkPad T40 (Pentium M Banias 1.5GHz and 1GB RAM) -- it'll do for what I need so I can see myself upgrading when it's released. The only downside is that I have to use the standard VGA adapter driver as the XP Radeon driver causes 7 to be somewhat unstable (to be expected)

    Personally I think it's a decent release and with Office 2003, Photoshop 7, Live Mesh and some of the Live applications installed, it takes about 10GB of my 160GB hard disk. That I can live with happily enough.

  46. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    The clue's in the quote.

    "....we.....took the necessary steps to ensure a good experience,"

    In other words, they've deleted it.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I get the feeling the whiners havn't actually installed windows 7

    "In the light of competition from Linux & Mac you would think these dorks at Redmond would accept that users may run other operating systems & welcome different browsers to download & try their software."

    funny , got key etc fine via firefox. Thats the only bit you had to get from MS site, iso is available from other places.

    "Tried it out yesterday and besides a few tweaks and a slightly changed desktop, it is absolutely the same."

    Hum , greatly reduced mem footprint, the new task bar, new previews etc? Unless big performance increases are "tweaks".

    "Requires an ActiveX control to download? Yuck."

    Its jsut a download resumer, plenty of people have pointed out that you can jsut view source the page and get the link (if you can't handle view source, you probably shouldn't be playing about with beta software)

    "Tried Win7 on a VPC yesterday.

    From what I see it's Vista in Blue, just as slow, and not striking difference. But I am running on an old 3Ghz P4 with only 2Gb of ram."

    by VPC i assume you mean virtual pc, funny, on my virtual machine i only gave it 512 ram adn other than the slow install and boot (due to the virtual machine) it was nippy.

    "fuckin bloatware, they make the code big because HD space isn't the precious commodity it once was, but 16gb is taking the piss"

    Didn't take 16 gig on my machine, nowhere near that ammount, how can a around about 2 gig iso expand into 16 gig unless its very very very well compressed, if it was a minimum is cause ms assume you actually want to install applications on it

    Now its not perfect it has issues (becuase as people pointed out its BETA, even teh guy above moaning saying that its feature complete and nearly ready for launch said its beta, but not sure where he got nearly ready for launch from, not sure even ms are saying that)

    Only issue so far i have is the HD scoring for the experience index (and so possibly hd access, but not noticed it being slow), when it was on a VM (with vista as the host) it got 4.3 , on same machine when i installed properly, gets 2.0. Vista got higher as well, so possibly a dodgy intel chipset driver somewhere.

    Other than that great improvement on vista, i actually have some of my 1 gig ram spare!

  48. Greg
    Gates Horns

    Hope you've all read the readme?!

    Lock down your MP3s! There's an issue in the readme, which we know no-one ever reads, unless they're accustomed to testing pre-release (and post-release) software:

    "When MP3 files are added (either manually or automatically) to either the Windows Media Player or the Windows Media Center library, or if the file metadata is edited with Windows Explorer, several seconds of audio data may be permanently removed from the start of the file. This issue occurs when files contain thumbnails or other metadata of significant size before importing or editing them."

    Now I know this is beta software and all, but it looks like all the folks who're pissed off with Vista are seeing this as a lifeline, not a beta review of an OS. Any sensible beta tester takes precautions before proceding with something like this, but I know I'd be a little ticked off if several seconds of audio were removed from the beginning of any of my tracks (despite the fact they're backed up offsite). There's a fix - but how many people will apply it before letting it see their mp3s? I turned off my NAS media server until the puppy was patched up.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Blatant anti-Microsoft bias

    Well. El Reg pins their colours to their arms once more. MS must be hated, must be beaten down, must be undermined at every turn. No matter how good or bad a thing they must do; at Reg towers it is always wrong, Wrong, WRONG!

    OpenOffice servers can't take the load? Oh WOW! look how popular OO3.0 is! Gasp! Fawn!

    MS servers can't take the load? Look how crap MS are. Yah, boo, sucks.

    Raise your game El Reg, and start reporting the news like professionals and not sniggering school children.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Anti MS Bias

    Please, watch this and seriously ask yourself if you reckon this company can ever release a decent product if this is where the R+D is going:


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