…so that the internet can recover by Monday morning when everyone wants to do real work again.  The download is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/beta-download.aspx.  I really like the description on the page:

New to beta testing? Here's what you need to know:
  • You'll need some technical skills, like knowing how to:

    • Burn an ISO file to make an install DVD (A good example of what we mean by “technical”)

    • Install Windows (of course)

    • Backup and restore your PC (There's a chance of losing files, so it's a good idea to do a backup of anything you want to save.)

    • Set up a network

    It can be glitchy—so don't use a PC you need every day.

  • Minimum recommended specs call for:

    • 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor

    • 1 GB of system memory

    • 16 GB of available disk space

    • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128 MB memory (to enable the Aero theme)

    • DVD-R/W Drive

    • Internet access (to download the Beta and get updates)

    And yes, like anything tech-related, these specs could change.

  • Some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigation through the use of "touch," may require advanced or additional hardware.

  • You'll need a system recovery disk (and know how to use it).

  • You're [almost] flying solo: you'll need to troubleshoot problems yourself and call on other Beta testers for their know-how.

  • It's a two-way thing—Beta testing is about feedback so our developers can fix bugs and hear what appeals to the people who use our products daily. Please tell us what you think.

  • Watch the calendar. The Beta expires on August 1, 2009. To continue using your PC, please be prepared to reinstall a prior version of Windows or a subsequent release of Windows 7 before the expiration date. (See installation instructions.)

Finally, fine print not written by a lawyer (or at least reinterpreted by someone who speaks “normally”).

Be sure to read the posted release notes, as there are at least two hotfixes available for Windows 7 (one for an issues around MP3 files, another for Media Center).

It’s worth pointing out that the minimum specs above are pretty much the same as those documented at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/919183 for Windows Vista (ignore Home Basic, who uses that anyway?).  That’s a good sign – Windows 7 shouldn’t require any more resources.

Also notice that it no longer says that you need a 40GB hard disk, just that you need 16GB free.  So Windows 7 will run on netbook computers.  I’m still resisting the urge to buy one as I still consider a 10” screen to be way too small.  (And beware of slow SSD disks.)  But eventually I’ll have to give in…