BREAKING NEWS: More features have been unlocked for Windows 7 by Rafael Rivera over at WithinWindows. Check it out!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I’m out of keys! However, check the comments (it’s WAY down in there); one person has an old WIndows Vista beta key and that might work. Please post in the comments of your experiences when using it.

Again, I myself have no more keys. Also, if you like this post, share it, digg it, whatever…the ad money I get goes to paying for a seedbox so everyone’s WIndows 7 downloads go faster on the torrent that I’m linking to. Speaking of downloading faster, please seed this torrent as much as you can!

Heard of Windows 7? Yeah, it’s the new Microsoft operating system that’ll be out in time for school next year, looks like. But would you like to check it out right now?

Don’t worry; unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 7 (which I may call Win7 in the rest of this post) is built so that, no matter what build, you’ll be getting a rock-solid product. Certainly not feature complete…the lower the build number, the more it’ll look like Vista…but the features that are there are solid.

The current build of Windows 7 seems to just have a lot of under-the-hood changes to increase performance and reliability over Vista, to the point that running Windows 7 in a virtual machine with 1.5 GB of memory assigned is a pleasurable experience. The same can’t be said of Vista. Nice job, Microsoft dev team, keep up the slim-down. There are other minor enhancements at this stage as well.

One thing to be forewarned of: you won’t get the shiny latest version of Win7 that was shown at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference. That’s build 6933, and that build didn’t get given to conference attendees. Thus we only have build 6801, the one that came on a free-with-conference-ticket 160GB hard drive at the PDC, and the one that has now leaked onto BitTorrent.

Another thing: this install requires activation. For that you’ll need a key. See below to get that key…

So here are the steps to get Win7…

1. Download the torrent. You’ll need a BitTorrent client (Mac Win) to do this.
NOTE: I’m seeding this on a “seedbox” account so download speeds should be reasonable. Please seed the torrent as well if you are able.

2. Extract the RAR file. You’ll need an unRAR program (Mac Win) to do this.

3. Burn the DVD. If you’re on Windows and don’t have something like Roxio\Nero\Sonic, you’ll need this.

4. Install Windows. It’s just like installing any other version of Windows, whether you’re installing into a VMWare machine on a Mac or regular-style onto a PC or Mac. Keep that in mind. Ask if you have trouble getting your mind around this concept. When the installer asks for a product version, you want Ultimate. When it asks for a serial number, leave it blank for now.

5. Activate Windows. You’ll need a key for this. Find a key from the old Windows Vista beta program (an RC1 or RC2 key will work). Or ask me…I have two keys, each of which can be used on up to ten computers. Counting my systems in, that leaves 15 computers worth of activations for people who can do me some random internet favor.

That’s it. Have fun with your new Windows 7 install. Realize, however, that it will expire on August 1st, 2009. On the other hand, that’s probably around the time WIndows 7 will come out. If not, there will doubtless be a newer\beta\release client version between now and then, at which point I’ll post updated instructions on getting the goods.

Hope this helps! I’m off to replace Windows XP with Windows 7 on my Macbook Air 😀

UPDATE: I’m typing this from Windows 7 on my Macbook Air. I had to install the Boot Camp drivers, plus manually grabbing the Realtek audio driver from first the Boot Camp CD, then the web. Audio is a little shaky, and hibernate mode has BIG issues, but otherwise the experience is amazing.

UPDATE 2: This post has been dugg. Digg it good, folks!

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