Have you been anticipating the public launch of Windows 7 beta? You're far from alone. At the Microsoft CES keynote two days ago, Steve Ballmer announced the upcoming OS would be made available in beta form to the general populace today, but the high demand temporarily knocked out both the Windows 7 download page and Microsoft's homepage, TGDaily reports.
Windows 7, which many are hoping will atone for Vista's sins, has gotten off to a rocky start in its pre-release form. MSDN and TechNet subscribers got first crack at the Windows 7 beta build 7000 yesterday, but some downloaders reported receiving errors when attempting to request product keys for the OS. But if the final product -- which Microsoft won't commit to a 2009 launch -- makes common complaints with Vista a thing of the past, most enthusiasts would agree it will be well worth the wait.
Protip: It might be in your best interest to snag a copy of Windows 7 beta and actively test the OS, even if beta testing really isn't your bag. Official beta testers who downloaded Vista back when it was in beta form and submitted at least one bug report ended up being rewarded with a free copy of Vista Business or Ultimate. That doesn't guarantee Microsoft will do the same with Windows 7, so decide for yourself is the risk is worth the potential worth reward.
Justin Kerr has posted an awesome mini-tutorial on how and where to get the Windows 7 beta up and running with a valid key. Check it out here.
Here's what Microsoft is saying about the glitch (via ArsTechnica):
We've had some reports over the last few hours where customers have been receiving errors when requesting Windows 7 Beta product keys. We can confirm that we are having trouble distributing Windows 7 Beta product keys right now. Since Windows has a grace period built in before a product key is required, please don't hesitate to download and use the Beta without the product key. We will post information here as soon as this is resolved.
Like ArsTechnica, we'll also be keeping an eye on this problem and will let you know when it's solved. Join us after the jump and let us know what's good, bad, and ugly about the official Windows 7 beta.
The economy might be down, but Microsoft's betting a lot of your technology-challenged friends and relatives still bought or received new PCs this Christmas. Want to give them a helping hand - and give yourself more free time to get back to your favorite deathmatch or chat session? Tell them to surf over to Microsoft's new Windows Guides website and download - or email - some help.
Redmond has put together a nice assortment of simple guides for various chunks of the Windows Vista computing universe. Whether your family and friends have questions about Windows Media Center, gaming, working on the go, PC and family security, photo editing and sharing, or just getting started with the Windows desktop, adding new hardware, networking, printing, or getting remote assistance, there's a guide for them.
At tonight's CES Microsoft keynote speech, Steve Ballmer talked a lot about the shape of things to come in the Windows community. Fortunately, he also made a couple announcements that are about the here and now. One such announcement was that Windows Live Essentials, a suite of free, fundamental communications software for Windows is out of beta.
The suite includes Messenger, an email utility, photo management software, and Writer, a blogging program. Movie Maker is also available for free, though it is technically still a beta release. The programs can be downloaded for free here (although something tells us most of our Maximum PC readers already have favorite programs that accomplish the Essential tasks), and will come pre-installed on most Dell PCs.
Additionally, Windows Live Essentials can integrate with certain "web activities" such as Facebook, allowing you to synchronize data on those services with data on your home computer.
So, what does everyone think of Windows Live Essentials? Is this the start of a iLife-esque unified Windows experience, or is it not enough? Hit the break and leave us a comment.
Microsoft’s CES keynote was, as expected, light on megaton gaming news, but a somewhat small – though undeniably interesting -- gem did manage to escape from Microsoft’s warchest. Titled Kodu, this easy-to-use game-creation tool is operated with only the Xbox 360 controller. However, based on a demonstration given during the keynote, Kodu could very well relegate games like LittleBigPlanet to the musty back corner of the toy box. Said MPC’s own Will Smith upon viewing the demo:
“The kid doing the Kodu demo (Sparrow) is hardcore with the radial menus. I forget how awesome they are if they're fast enough that you can actually use them. She was using the radial menus to adjust items in her game world. These are incredibly deep radial menus, compared to other apps. This is a pretty impressive tool, and she's controlling it entirely using the Xbox controller. There are lots of little games in the world.”
According to a Microsoft press release, Kodu’s colorful vistas are “expressed in physical action-reaction terms, using basic concepts like vision, hearing and time to control your character’s behavior.” Sounds pretty wicked.
Kodu launches this spring on the Xbox Live Community Games Channel.
See the rest of Microsoft’s game-related announcements after the break.
Here's some breaking news: At the Microsoft CES Keynote, Steve Ballmer has just announced the launch of the Windows 7 Public beta. Customers of Technet and MSDN can get the beta right away (if you hadn't already been tempted by the various leaks) while the rest of us will have to wait until 2 days from now to snag the trial OS.
In his keynote address, Ballmer stressed that Windows 7 will provide faster performance, longer battery life, faster boot times, and a less obnoxious security alert system. Early reports from people who have tried the beta seem to back these claims up, and we're very excited to see how the public will react to this beta.
Team Maximum PC is here at the Venetian hotel/casino in Las Vegas, attending the Microsoft CES keynote. This will be the first keynote since Bill Gate's retirement, and Steve "Developers! Developers! Developers!" Ballmer is filling in to kick off the conference. This is Microsoft's chance to wow techies after Apple dropped the ball yesterday with its decidedly unspectacular MacWorld keynote. Windows 7 will undoubtedly be the hot topic of tonight's presentation, but we're hoping for a few surprises as well. Ballmer has also historically been an energetic and entertaining speaker, so we know we're in for a good show, at least. Keep your eyes peeled on MaximumPC.com and this liveblog page for all the latest updates!
Read on to see what Microsoft has to announce at CES 2009!
When Build 7000 of Windows 7 leaked onto the Internet recently, some bloggers speculated that Microsoft had deliberately leaked Build 7000. If that's the case, Redmond has some 'splainin' to do: numerous users have reported that Windows Media Player 12 (the media player included in Windows 7) corrupts some MP3 files.
Microsoft is aware of the bug and is working on a patch, but if you've decided not to wait for an official Beta 1 of Windows 7, what should you do in the meantime to protect your MP3 collection? Join us after the jump to learn how to protect your precious rips and purchased files - and for your chance to tell us if this has happened to you.
Let's face it, web developers. Even if you're the most devoted fan of Firefox, Opera, or Safari, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is still Internet Explorer. Like IE or hate it, your pages had better work properly with it. Unfortunately, you can only have one version of IE running on a test PC at a time...or can you?
Add Virtual PC 2007 SP1 to your Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2003 or 2008 box, and install your choice of Windows XP SP3+IE6, Windows XP SP3+IE7, Windows XP+IE8 Beta 2, or Windows Vista+IE7 in VHD format. Now, it's easy to find out which pages make a particular flavor of IE gag, and you can switch between IE versions running in different VMs with the click of a mouse. For more Virtual PC downloads, including release notes, click here.
These disk images work until April 2009, so you have plenty of time to work out page glitches. Not developing websites? No problem! Try them anyway.
In today’s economy, job cuts seem to be par for the course. We all expected to see major losses at vulnerable companies such as AMD, Circuit City, and Yahoo. Recently however, we have been seeing cuts at major technology employers that we once considered to be at least somewhat recession proof. These include companies such as Sony, Google, Adobe, and now even Microsoft. What started out as an unsubstantiated rumor now appears to be true and the Redmond based software giant is preparing to let go around 15,000 of its 90,000 global employees.
The bulk of the layoffs are expected to be absorbed by MSN, but Microsoft’s global operations are rumored to be under the microscope as well. Large cuts are also expected at its Europe, Middle East, and African operations. Like most companies in these tough times, this is likely to be more of a belt tightening then a white flag. Profitable operations will likely dodge the bullet but as of this point, the full nature of the cuts is not yet known.
The layoffs are likely to take place starting January 15th, and finish before Microsoft issue’s its Q2 results on January 22nd. 17 percent of its work force is a pretty substantial cut and we will just have to wait and see what brands or product lines will be affected going into 2009.