Microsoft has extended the general availability of the Windows 7 beta until February 10 due to the software's popularity, the company said.
People have until February 10 to start the download of the software, but downloads have until February 12 to be completed, according to the post, attributed to Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft Windows communication manager. No one will be able to begin downloading the Windows 7 beta after February 10, Microsoft said.
Microsoft made the first beta of Windows 7 available to the general public on January 10, a day later than planned because interest in the beta crashed its Web site when the company first posted it the day before. So far, Windows 7, the follow-up to the disappointing Windows Vista OS that fixes many of problems users reported with Vista, has gotten positive reviews from early users.
Microsoft wants to give people plenty of time to prepare for the end of the beta's public evaluation period, according to LeBlanc's post. On Tuesday, the Windows 7 page will warn users that time is running out to download the software so they can prepare for the Feb. 10 deadline.
However, the new deadline does not apply to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and TechNet subscribers, who will have access to the Windows 7 beta through its entire testing phase, according to LeBlanc.
Additionally, if a user has downloaded Windows 7 but does not have a product key for the software, Microsoft will continue to provide those to beta users indefinitely. A product key validates that a user's copy of the software is legitimate.