Windows 7 beta release comes with usage warnings

Despite software giant Microsoft Corp. widening the public availability of its Windows 7 beta by lifting the initial download cap, the new platform’s availability trial comes with some noteworthy warnings regarding stability risks.

Specifically, technology watchers at Australian publication The Herald Sun are advising readers to steer well clear of the Windows 7 beta, pointing to Microsoft’s own discretionary warning that users may find the experience to be glitchy, while usage could also result in the loss of data.

“Do not install the trial version of Microsoft’s latest operating system,” says the online magazine, “[Not] unless you’re a total IT geek who likes living dangerously.”

With more than 2.5 million interested users already putting the “feature complete” Windows 7 through its paces, the report cites related warnings issued by the Melbourne PC Users Group, which states that the unfinished operating system could bring a potential minefield of problems with it.

According to the group’s evaluation, a cautionary approach is highly recommended on the grounds that Windows 7 is likely to be vulnerable to malicious attacks, the test platform is unstable, personal data could be compromised, various other unknown issues could arise, and an older or different version of Windows must be installed before the Windows 7 beta expires on August 01.

The group also points to similar issues that reared up and hindered the Windows Vista operating system – and, in some cases, continue to do so.

However, outside of its strictly common sense advice, the Melbourne-based organisation notes that features and performance improvements offered through Windows 7 could see its final release emerging as the platform that Windows Vista should have been.

Initial demand for Windows 7, which temporarily prevented server access, has seen Redmond-based Microsoft lift the 2.5 million download cap it placed upon the software, with the beta now being made available to everyone and anyone until January 24.

Those looking to take a peek at Windows 7 should be armed with a PC system running a minimum of a 1GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of available disk space, and DX 9 with 128MB of memory.

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