While Microsoft is gearing up for the public Beta of Windows 7, planned for early 2009, the development milestone is already available for download from both the Redmond company and from third-party sources offering the leaked bits.
Windows 7 Beta Build 6.1.7000.0.081212-1400 has been leaked and ended up as an ISO DVD on top torrent websites and popular pirated content repositories, but fact is that the leak followed the official downloads offered by the software giant. Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 was initially released to a select pool of Microsoft testers, but also made available via the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet.
Leaked copies of Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 came accompanied by links pointing to MSDN and TechNet, revealing the intimate connection between the pirated versions of the operating system's first beta testing milestone and the Redmond company's portal for developers. These are the links in full:
However, at the time this article was being written the pages were no longer accessible, although they were live on December 28, 2008. Still, thanks to the Google and Live Search caches, their details are still available, as you can very well see from the adjacent screenshots.
“You must be signed in to Windows Live ID to access product keys and initiate downloads. If download items are grayed out and you are signed in, they are not available to you based on your Subscription type or status; or based on legal or geopolitical restrictions; or if you are attempting to download files using an unsupported operating system or browser. If you have an expired subscription, you can now view product keys you claimed while your subscription was active,” a message from Microsoft reads, but with the actual pages no longer available the options offered by the search engines snapshots are as limited as window shopping.
There are no less than six downloads labeled Windows 7 Beta on MSDN and TechNet. At 99.39 MB the first is 7000.0.081212-1400_client_localpacks-gb1lclpckcfre_dvd_all.0. Next comes 7000.0.081212-1400_amd64fre_client_en-us-gb1cxlp_en_dvd_all.0 (302.58 MB), then 7000.0.081212-1400_client_en-us_ultimate-gb1culfre_en_dvd_all.0 (2,497.48 MB – these are the actual Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 bits). Then there are the 7000.0.081212-1400_x86fre_client_lip_hi-in-gb1clip_hi_dvd_all.0 (41.94 MB), 7000.0.081212-1400_x86fre_client_en-us-gb1clp_en_dvd_all.0 (186.05 MB), and 7000.0.081212-1400_client_localpacks-gb1lclpckcxfre_dvd_all.0 (99.39 MB). According to Microsoft, Windows 7 Beta Build 6.1.7000.0.081212-1400 was posted at 12/22/2008 2:41:15 PM, with the following info - SHA1:6071184282B2156FF61CDC5260545C078CCA31EE and ISO/CRC:aaba5a48.
Along with the official downloads for the Beta 1 release of the next iteration of the Windows client, Microsoft is also offering product keys designed to activate the operating system. Of course, both the Beta of the platform and the product keys are offered exclusively to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. For the time being, the Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 official downloads MSDN and TechNet webpage can be viewed via the Google cache, or the Live Search cache.