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Microsoft officially releases Windows 7 beta

Public can sample Microsoft’s latest operating system on January 9th

Microsoft has released the beta version of its highly anticipated Windows 7 operating system.

The beta version, which was mysteriously leaked to several torrent sites a few weeks ago, can be accessed today exclusively by MSDN, TechBeta and TechNet customers.

Other customers can sample Microsoft’s latest offering through the Windows 7 website from January 9th, though a limit of 2.5 million downloads has been allocated by the company.

CEO Steve Ballmer made the announcement at the keynote address at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where he also revealed a new version of Windows Live, a suite of personal communications services and applications that include Windows Live Messenger, Live Mail and Live Photo Gallery.

The new Windows 7 OS is touted to have vast improvements such as better performance, reliability and security. A new taskbar and features such as Jumplists will provide users immediate access to preferred application, while a useful Home Group feature will make connecting multiple devices easier to share resources and content.

Dell is already confirmed to offer preloaded Windows Live Essentials and Live Search on most of its new PCs worldwide in February.

Social networking fans will also be glad to hear that content posted on Facebook can be directly transferred to Windows Live with the new OS.

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