San Francisco— The first beta version of Windows 7 — Microsoft’s much-anticipated next-generation operating system and substitute for the most troublesome Vista, which was expected to reach retailer shelves in time for the 2009 holiday shopping season, has apparently popped up on peer-to-peer network BitTorrent as an ISO file, making it available for anyone to download.
A quick search run on the Pirate Bay BitTorrent site, for example, produced results for two Windows 7 Build 7000 listings, both of which had been posted Friday.
Since Saturday afternoon, one torrent on Pirate Bay display more than 1,800 “seeders” — the term for a computer that has a full copy of the torrent file — and about 8,500 “leechers,” or computers that have downloaded only part of the complete torrent.
However, at present only the 32-bit edition of Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 can be obtained via repositories for pirated content by any users with a BitTorrent client, according to users commenting on the site and elsewhere on the Internet.
Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites, including Mininova, listed the beta build as a 2.44GB download.
This is not the first occasion Windows 7 got away from Microsoft’s limited testing pool. Barely hours after the company unveiled an earlier version at its Professional Developers Conference in late October, the alpha edition hit BitTorrent.
Users first noticed the hottest Windows 7 leak on Neowin.net’s forums Friday, with the opening message and screenshots coming from someone identified as “+fivestarVIP”, who said he was from Beijing, China.
ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes also says having a copy and has posted his first impressions of the beta.
On the whole, Kingsley-Hughes wrote that he likes Windows 7, calling it “solid and fast.” But he does take issue with a few new features:
The new revamped taskbar is visually very interesting (and certainly a lot easier to use at higher screen resolutions than that of Vista or XP taskbar), but it tries to do too much and as such comes across as kludgey and counter-intuitive. One failure is that it is hard to tell the difference between apps that are running and shortcuts that have been pinned to the taskbar.
Build 7000 is what Microsoft will circulate next month as Windows 7 Beta, according to other reports by Windows bloggers who have copies. Another respected blogger Paul Thurrott is reasonably complimentary about the new system in his review.
“Windows 7 is much further along now than was any other Windows version when it reached its first beta release,” he writes.
“In fact, this build is much closer to a release candidate (RC) build than a beta from a quality standpoint. It is feature complete, it is reasonably stable, and it is highly compatible with the software and hardware I use on a regular basis.”
Although Microsoft has promised to open the beta to all users in early 2009, it has been mum on an exact release date. Information published on its own Web site earlier this month, however, hinted that the beta will be available no later than Jan. 13.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to speak on the new operating system during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7.
Attendees at Professional Developers Conference 2008 held in Los Angeles last month, received pre-beta copies of Windows 7 on DVD, as well as a 160GB Western Digital portable hard drive packed with code.
Microsoft failed to comment in any manner on the leaked information related to Windows 7 Beta Build 7000. The pirated Windows 7 Beta Build release comes packed as an ISO DVD, weighing in some 2.44 GB. The image is meant to be burned on a DVD and then installed either on a physical computer or a virtual machine.