The public beta of Windows 7 is just under a month away, but thanks to some naughty file sharers you can get an early peek at the next iteration of Microsoft's OS.
It would appear that Microsoft is having the traditional troubles keeping builds of its upcoming Windows 7 operating system away from the mass market, with the most up-to-date version having been leaked to BitTorrent trackers.
The ISO image file is – according to DownloadSquad
– Windows 7 M1 Build 7000, which is the same version which will become the public beta at the start of next year. Featuring improvements to the stability of the system along with shiny new features – such as the icon-based task bar reminiscent of the Apple Mac OS X dock we mentioned earlier
in the year – enabled by default, the rather naughty pre-beta leak is already entertaining Windows fans across the globe.
If you're curious, but want to know a little more before investing the time and effort of downloading an unofficial – and possibly modified by naughty third parties – installer this close to the official beta release, Paul Thurrott
has taken the time to add a raft of screenshots from this latest build to his website. There's nothing that will shock anyone who has been following the development of Windows Vista's replacement, but it's nice to see that pretty much every promised feature has made it into the final beta – and ahead of schedule, too.
Being a beta, Windows 7 is still a fair way away from being ready for day-to-day use. If you're already running build 6801 – the version that was previously made available as a closed beta – then there's no easy way to upgrade to the 7000 short of completely re-installing the operating system. If previous public betas are anything to go by, that's a process that you'll have to repeat once the final Release To Manufacturing version is produced and made available. Still, if you feel the need to sit on the bleeding edge, these are small obstacles.
Will anyone be snagging an early beta copy of Windows 7, or is it worth waiting for the official release in January? Will you even be trying the beta, or is Vista good enough for the foreseeable future? Share your thoughts over in the forums