Windows 7 beta howto – download, activate and dual-boot



Lifehacker’s Adam Pash wrote a guide for testing the Windows 7 beta on a machine already running XP or Vista. It walks you though adjusting the partition size of your current OS so you can test the new system out without dumping your current setup.

Before you can get started, though, you’ll have to download the Windows 7 ISO image an burn it to a DVD. Unfortunately, the download links on the Microsoft site have been temporarily removed, apparently due to the volume of download demand. Links to the official 32bit and 64bit downloads were available for a brief time, though, and they were posted to a number of blogs. I’ve posted what appear to work below.

You’ll also need to get an activation key or the OS will expire in 30 days. This is also unavailable at the official download site, though the Neowin blog has recently posted an alternate way to obtain the activation key as well.

So, to sum things up:

  1. Download the Windows 7 Beta ISO (warning: big 2 gig file): 32-bit Version or 64-bit Version
  2. Get the activation key using Neowin’s tip
  3. Set up dual-boot with Adam’s instructions

Note that the activation keys are said to be limited to 2.5 million copies. It might be smart to grab one now, even if you weren’t planning on downloading or installing the OS right away.

Windows 7 Beta – Official site. The official download process should be available again soon.

12 thoughts on “Windows 7 beta howto – download, activate and dual-boot

  1. Dan says:

    If anyone is testing Window$7 can you try this for me. (I’m very interested to see if M$ have made any architecture changes.)

    Log in as your primary user, then switch to a second user (so you have two active log ins). Switch back to the first user and Crtl-Alt-Del to get the task manager, then use it to kill off explorer.exe from memory (not sure how many you will see but kill them all)

    Now you may not have any desktop of taskbar, but you can still switch users from the menu in task manager, so switch to the second user.

    Have they lost their desktop etc. as well?

    If yes, then install Ubuntu, it is free and it is a real OS.

  2. A says:

    If you are an admin, you can kill anybody’s processes, including their explorer.exe. That’s just how windows security works. Try signing on as root and killing X for everyone signed onto the computer. It will do that same thing. There is no need to come here and bash Windows just because you prefer ubuntu. Next time, try to be a little bit more mature before you post your comments. (and for christ’s sake, stop using the $ for s).

  3. Anonymous says:

    Remember those old Linux distros that tried to be like Windows? Well, this looks like one of those. Stable enough – just.. weird. Something about it doesn’t sit well with me.

  4. FrostedWheat says:

    Remember those old Linux distros that tried to be like Windows? Well, this looks like one of those. Stable enough – just.. weird. Something about it doesn’t sit well with me.

  5. StymieBoy says:

    Not worth the time. Stick with Vista.

  6. How to Windows 7 says:

    There are much better tutorials than this. I have managed to implement the dual boot procedure on the new Windows 7 SP1 just by reading some good article on the web . Adam instructions are fine but they are quite outdated. Above all whne there are some nice, TOTALLY free applications which can do the “dirty job” for you! To implement what danny says you have to be a real geek. If you are not the risk to screw your computer is really high!

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).