Windows Vista, IE7 Betas Leak to Web

UPDATED Less than 24 hours after Microsoft announced the release of Windows Vista Beta 1 and Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1 to testers and MSDN subscribers, both betas have leaked to Internet sites and newsgroups along with a crack for Windows Product Activation, according to BetaNews sources.

The Vista download weighs in at close to 2.5GB, but the operating system's heft did not keep the pirates away. The next-generation Windows beta likely uses the same activation technology found in Windows XP, which was compromised long ago.

Such a leak is not that surprising considering over 10,000 beta testers were included in the first round of testing alone. Those numbers do not count MSDN subscribers who were also given access to the Beta 1 bits.

Alpha builds of the operating system, then code-named Longhorn, have frequently leaked from Microsoft labs during development. And Microsoft encountered the same problems with Windows Whistler, which later became Windows XP.

Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1, which is available within Windows Vista and on its own, requires Windows Genuine Advantage verification to install, sources said. Microsoft opted not to make the first beta publicly available, and has not set a timeline for the final release of its long-awaited new Web browser.

"Windows Vista Beta 1 is a very early build designed specifically for software developers and IT professionals to begin testing for the Windows Vista platform," a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews.

"While we understand that the industry is excited about the release of the first Windows Vista Beta, we do not recommend downloading the code on a production machine unless you are a participant in one of the above Microsoft programs as it is designed for a very specific technical audience."

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