announced that the first public beta of Windows 7 would be available today, it was already clear that there would be a tremendous demand for the next version of Windows. The last we heard was that the beta will be available at noon PST today, even though the download link from Microsoft's TechNet site are already making the rounds on Twitter.When Steve Ballmer
Update: You can find direct download links here, but without a registration key, your beta version will expire in 30 days. Microsoft's registration servers are still down.
Update 3: As of Sunday morning PST, product keys and downloads are finally available on the Windows 7 page.
TechNet and MSDN subscribers can already download the beta, but the general public will have to wait until noon. However, if the current state of Microsoft's servers is any indication, you will have to be very lucky to get your copy anytime soon.
Demand for the public beta is clearly high. All day long, neither the Windows Team blog, the Microsoft Partner homepage, nor the TechNet download have been working properly. Even the official Windows 7 site was unavailable for a good part of the morning.
By limiting the download to the first 2.5 million users, Microsoft has created an artificial scarcity that is driving users to the site early. While this is clearly a sign that users are eager to get their hands on the (legal) beta and that Microsoft's marketing did a great job, Microsoft's infrastructure clearly wasn't prepared for the current demand.
If you manage to get a hold of the download, let us know in the comments.