Microsoft is offering free downloads of Windows 7′s Beta release. You can get your copy here. They were originally going to keep the beta open until sometime in March I think but due to the overwhelming number of people that have signed up they’re going to be ending it very soon (actually according to the site, in the next few days).
So far I’ve been very happy with it. I am running it on my Macbook Pro with VMware Fusion 2. Even though VMWare doesn’t officially support it yet it went on automatically when I picked Windows Server 2008 64-bit as my operating system when I setup a new VM for it. All I had to do was put in the product key that Microsoft emailed me when I signed up for the beta and it was up and running in no time.
I only allocated 40GB of Hard Drive space to the VM and 1GB Ram (I have 4GB total). So far it has been running great on that and seems to be much quicker than the Vista VM I had setup before. From everything that I’ve been hearing Windows 7 is basically a cleaned up and more stable version of Vista. So far I agree.
The next steps for me will be to install Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. Since Windows 7 comes pre-loaded with Internet Explorer 8. One odd/annoying thing that I’m finding is that the Beta version of IE 8 that comes can’t be upgraded to the RC1 version they just put out this week.
For those of you that don’t know. RC means Release Candidate, and is the final testing version before a software product is released with it’s final version. The release cycles are typically:
- RC (Release Candidate)
- RTM (Release to Manufacturing or Release to Marketing)
- GA (General Availability)
Here’s my advice to you as far as Internet Explorer 8 goes. If you insist on using IE, make sure you’re using at least IE 7. I would not start using IE 8 until it’s released in a final version. If you’re only using IE because that’s what came with your computer, do yourself a favor and go and download Firefox (for free) right now. It is way faster than IE, much more secure, and will give you a much getter browsing experience.