Windows 7 beta leaked on BitTorrent

The beta version of Microsoft's next-generation operating system has been linked on peer-to-peer network BitTorrent.

Versions of the beta Windows 7 Ultimate - the much-anticipated replacement for the problem-fraught Vista operating systems - have been in the hands of testers and some media for the last two months.

A few leaked copies of the early 'alpha' build did the P2P rounds in December.

And now the 'Build 7000' version of the new system has found its way onto the file sharing network BitTorrent, making it available for anyone to download.

The torrent is a disk image of the 32-bit version of the system, and underground site Pirate Bay is listing nearly 2000 'seeder' versions of the 2.44GB download.

Seeders are users who have a full copy of the file on their computers.

There was close to 10,000 'leechers' who had downloaded part of the file.

Windows bloggers say that the pirated build is the version that will be issued in January as Windows 7 Beta.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to focus on the new operating system during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7.

Respected blogger Paul Thurrott is reasonably complimentary about the new system in his review.

"Windows 7 is much further along now than was any other Windows version when it reached its first beta release," he writes.

"In fact, this build is much closer to a release candidate (RC) build than a beta from a quality standpoint. It is feature complete, it is reasonably stable, and it is highly compatible with the software and hardware I use on a regular basis."

This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald -