Windows 7 Beta Limits Lifted, Impressions w/Lenovo S10

Windows 7 On Friday, I mentioned that the Windows 7 beta was open to the public. The response turned out to be a lot bigger than Microsoft had anticipated.

Microsoft’s servers, both those serving up the .ISO DVD images, and those distributing the validation/keys to people, were completely bogged down on Friday. So much so that Microsoft made some radical changes in how they are handling the public beta. There had been an initial limit of 2.5 million on the public beta.

That limit is now being lifted:

Due to an enormous surge in demand, the download experience was not ideal so we listened and took the necessary steps to ensure a good experience. We have clearly heard that many of you want to check out the Windows 7 Beta and, as a result, we have decided remove the initial 2.5 million limit on the public beta for the next two weeks (thru January 24th). During that time you will have access to the beta even if the download number exceeds the 2.5 million unit limit.

I know some people were worried that the 2.5 million limit might be reached early Friday afternoon (and that could have caused the servers to be overwhelmed – traffic from people worried about getting in), so this is good news.

My impressions:
– Very quick and easy install on a Lenovo S10 with 2GB of RAM and a budget 32GB Solid State Drive (SSD), I discussed this setup with an earlier Windows 7 build back in November, namely the performance of the SSD. I’ll be posting my updated benchmarks in the next few days, to see what, if anything, has changed as far as using it on an SSD.
– There were only a couple of updates right away – a driver, and an update for Windows Defender.
– The install process changed slightly (nothing major), and it seemed faster
– The taskbar is fully enabled and working.
– Overall, this is the most stable beta release of a Windows OS I’ve seen in a long time. Admittedly, I’m running this on a netbook with slightly older hardware that has most, if not all, of the kinks worked out, but it’s still incredibly smooth.
– As with the previous Windows 7 build, much faster/smoother than Windows Vista.

Would I use this in a day-to-day capacity? On a secondary system, especially a netbook, absolutely. Ideally you’d want 2GB of RAM, but I’ve heard and seen people with 1GB running it just fine. I’ll be installing it on an Acer Aspire One with 1GB of RAM and a 120GB HDD later this week, and will be doing some comparisons.

The networking feature alone is worth it, but the performance of Windows 7 on an SSD versus Vista is also worth it. I highly recommend that you take advantage of the beta program (good through August 2009) and try it out for yourself, if you just picked up a netbook and don’t have too much installed on it just yet.

We’ve heard people discussing, both inside of Microsoft and out, a netbook-specific distribution of Windows 7. I’m not sure that one is needed. From my experience with XP Home, Vista, and Windows 7 on the same netbook, Windows 7 was much better than Vista, and was as good or better than XP Home. The interface/taskbar seemed better suited to a 1024×600 display as well, versus Windows XP.

I would like to see Microsoft offer a really cheap upgrade version of Windows 7 for netbook fans, once it is released into the retail channel.

Windows 7 Team Blog
Windows 7 Beta Customer Preview Program
Microsoft – Windows 7 Overview