Heavy Web traffic halts Windows 7 beta rollout

Microsoft Corp. postponed the roll-out of the Windows 7 beta Friday, citing “very heavy traffic” on its Website.

The company did not offer a new schedule for delivering the beta of its newest operating system.

“Due to very heavy traffic we’re seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to Microsoft.com properties before we post the public Beta today,” a spokeswoman said in an instant message reply to earlier questions about the Microsoft.com’s performance. “We want to ensure customers have the best possible experience when downloading the Beta.”

Microsoft Corp.’s Website struggled to stay online early Friday as users eager to download the first public beta of Windows 7 began overloading the company’s servers — to no avail, since the beta code isn’t scheduled to be posted on the site until this afternoon.

Microsoft’s main Website and the anticipated download page for the Windows 7 beta were often unreachable this morning by reporters from multiple locations in the U.S. Browsers returned errors such as “Connection Interrupted” or “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage,” or they simply displayed a blank screen. At times, the Microsoft site would respond for some users, albeit very slowly.

According to Microsoft, the beta has yet to be posted. On Thursday the company said it would offer the 2.5GB to 3.2GB download starting at 3 p.m. EST. When Computerworld was able to reach the Website just before 11 a.m. EST Friday, there was no sign of the beta.

On Wednesday, when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer set Friday as the date for the beta’s rollout, a spokeswoman for the company noted that it would cap the number of activation keys for the code at 2.5 million.

But users who aren’t able to obtain an activation key will still be able to download and install the beta, then run it on a 30-day trial basis. And by using the same “slmgr -rearm” command that gained notoriety after Windows Vista’s debut, users can extend that trial period to a total of 120 days.

Another designated download site, the Springboard Series page, which is aimed at IT professionals via Microsoft’s TechNet site, remained accessible throughout the morning.

Computerworld US

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