Microsoft makes a u-turn, Windows 7 testers to get free copy

In a surprise turn around, Microsoft announced today that Windows 7 technical testers will be receiving a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate.

In recent weeks Microsoft has faced angry reactions from bloggers and beta testers when they originally announced the testers 'thanks' was the discounted pre-order offer. Blogger Paul Thurrot claimed: "the painful thing here, for beta testers, is that they've been screwed" which demonstrated the reaction to the previous announcements.

In a blog posting at Microsoft's Windows Team Blog, Brandon LeBlanc confirmed: "to show our appreciation, members of the invitation-only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program will be eligible for a free, final copy of Windows 7 Ultimate." All current members of the English technical and international mini-beta programs are eligible for a full non-upgrade copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. Testers can get access to their copy in one of two ways:

  • Download a copy and product key via Microsoft connect, English downloads will be available August 6th and other languages will follow as they become available.
  • Boxed retail copies are available in a limited amount and are being offered on a first come, first served basis. These copies will not be ready until October 22nd or later.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley recently highlighted the testing process and how the focus has been taken away from Microsoft's beta testers. Testers are no longer held in such high esteem it seems as Microsoft only supplied the same 2 public beta builds this time around. However, it's good to see Microsoft making a u-turn and admitting they were wrong to not provide a thank you to beta testers. Hopefully with Windows 8 Microsoft will focus on beta testers once again.

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kevpan815 said,
Today I Canceled My Pre Order Of Windows 7 2 Protest The Fact That Members Of The Public Beta (Like Myself), Are Not Getting The Free Copy Of Windows 7 Ultimate, Just FYI! I Am Half Way Thinking Of Returning 2 Linux As Well!


Wow... just wow... you get the award for smartest comment of the day

Boo I wasn't invited to the technical preview. Oh well. Perhaps they'll do the same for those that got invited to technical beta for 2010

So people are expecting that because just because MS gave them free access to the RC, they also expect free access to the final version? Some people have some real nerve...

I wish all these people would actually stand by their words and go use their alternative OS so that there would be less malware-infested Windows boxes out there.

Pegus said,
I wish all these people would actually stand by their words and go use their alternative OS so that there would be less malware-infested Windows boxes out there.

Then we'd have malwafe infested [Other OS] boxes. It wouldn't solve anything.

Big friggin woop ya know i wouldn't be so pi$$ed at M$ if they'd have offered new zealanders a chance to pre-order it but seeing as how we are getting nothin except kicked in the nut sack (again) i don't think i'll be buyin it for hundreds of dollars

Atlonite said,
Big friggin woop ya know i wouldn't be so pi$$ed at M$ if they'd have offered new zealanders a chance to pre-order it but seeing as how we are getting nothin except kicked in the nut sack (again) i don't think i'll be buyin it for hundreds of dollars

I wouldn't (and don't) pay hundreds of dollars for it to begin with!!
MS is one of the biggest, albeit, legal scams in the world!! The pricing of their software is rediculous!!

brent3000 said,
AUgst 6th?? that means 7 will be finalised come AUG6th??

...no, that's the date that it's being made available to Technet/MSDN. It finalized earlier this month.

I felt that like that last time with the Windows Vista beta. I reported something like ten or so bugs. I also reported an issue with installing the software on a number of my machines. Many were AMD systems (Athlon64 I believe). Never got much of a response, though by RC it basically worked. From here, kept in contact with them about a number of issues. I guess in the end, along with a number of individuals that probably had my same hardware setups, I got a version of Vista that actually worked with my hardware, though I had to pay for it.

With the latest beta and rc, I have done little to nothing. I have probably submitted less than a grand total of ten bug reports. I would only say that two of them were any length. One was a compatibility error with my notebook (loading wrong device drivers) and the other was a file permission copy error. Not exactly show stoppers like in the past.

I one thing I have found issue at is with the inability to upgrade from Vista to Windows 7. At least not with AMD systems I have. I've tried it on a total of five machines. Only one was somewhat successful. Clean installs are wonderful, upgrades... not so much. The unofficial upgrade from beta to rc was better than Vista to Windows 7. Never had these problems with Vista after early beta, XP or Win2k. Not really sure what to make of it.

Summary: I agree with you that Microsoft has a very flawed version of their beta test programs. It basically goes out and selects the same users over again. This does little to actually test the maturity of the setup process or the bugs that most users will encounter. The advantage here, however, is that they are essentially working with Vista, and, therefore don't really need most of these issues resolved.

Still, it does suck to not get an invite once and a while. At least I got a chance to test the beta and RC since Jan. Once it begins to expire I'll probably either move back to Vista, buy the Home 7 edition (kind of unlikely) or maybe try to find another OS of interest.

I highly doubt it, but in a way this was an invite thing too, you had to enter a code from an e-mail to get in if I remember rightly... I doubt us people in that program will get free windows 7 though

Sweet glad Microsoft changed their mind about this, even thought I already pre-ordered 2 copies of home premium it's nice now I'll have a copy of Ultimate as well

Wow, took them long enough. I had a strong feeling that in the end they were going to do this. So is this how it will be from now on? We're going to have to beg Microsoft for a free copy? Not cool....I've been testing since Windows 2000 and it's never been like this.

Yesterday I received a Microsoft email telling me i'll be able to download the full and free Windows 7 Ultimate version on mid August...

BTW also got the Microsoft Office 2010 Technology Preview Invitation for test it!!!
Two good news from Microsoft in one day!!

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