Windows 7 Beta released

Posted in M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the January 13th, 2009

Windows 7 Beta was released to public testing last week. It seems that demand was so high that MS servers were overwhelmed with download requests. The web page showed “Server is too busy” error most of the time and later in the day the download link was removed from MS servers. This week the download link seems to work more stable. 

Microsoft doesn’t recommend installing the Beta on your primary work or home PC. So if you have an available system go download and try it for yourself. The Beta release is time-limited and will stop working in August 2009, at which point you will have to uninstall it and return to a previous version of Windows installed on that system.

As with any Beta software there are certain issues that you should know about. That’s why Microsoft urges you to thoroughly read through Release Notes before installing Windows 7 Beta on your computer. Some of the issues are severe and might corrupt your media files, so please DO read the Release Notes BEFORE you install the Beta.

Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Beta are available for download from the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/beta-download.aspx

You’ll be required to install an ActiveX Download Manager that will allow you to Pause/Resume the download of a 2.44Gb image file (ISO) of Windows 7 Beta. You will also need a DVD writer and a software that can write an image file to a DVD disc to create an installation media.

Here are some of the issues in Release Notes that pertain to Media Center functionality…

MP3 files

When MP3 files are added (either manually or automatically) to either the Windows Media Player or the Windows Media Center library, or if the file metadata is edited with Windows Explorer, several seconds of audio data may be permanently removed from the start of the file. This issue occurs when files contain thumbnails or other metadata of significant size before importing or editing them.
To avoid this, take the following steps:
To protect your MP3 files

  1. Before you install this beta release, back up all MP3 files that might be accessed by the computer, including those on removable media or shared network resources.
  2. Ensure that all MP3 files are set to read-only. To do this, in Windows Explorer, find the files, right-click them, click the General tab, and then select the Read-only check box.
  3. Install this beta release of Windows 7.
  4. Read the article and install the update available at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=139391.
  5. Once you have installed the update, you can safely reset the read/write status of your MP3 files to your preference.

If you do not want to install the update, you can avoid this issue by setting all MP3 files that might be accessed to the computer to read-only as in Step 2.

Windows Media Center

  • Windows Media Center does not recognize certain ISDB-T or ISDB-S tuners because they lack the required Protected Broadcast Driver Architecture (PBDA) drivers.Use only tuners compliant with Windows Media Center that are supplied with the computer by the original equipment manufacturer.
  • Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) content does not play back on Windows Media Extender devices.There is no workaround at this time.
  • If you start a Windows Media Center session and do not press any keys, the screen saver will not activate.To avoid this, select any item from the start screen.
  • If you have recordings scheduled and the Windows Media Center enters the sleep state repeatedly, you may encounter a number of issues, such as a video overlay error when you attempt to watch live TV, no available disk space when you attempt to save files, and recordings deleted because of low disk space.To avoid this, use Power Options to disable the sleep feature on the computer while Windows Media Center is running or if a recording is scheduled.If this has already occurred, restart the computer and start live TV in Windows Media Center.
  • If you have upgraded a Windows Vista computer to Windows 7, you may not be able to burn content to a DVD from Windows Media Center.To correct this, use Regedit.exe to add the following registry key:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Extensibility\Entry Points\{1beb699f-dc1e-41a7-a31a-d4b339d21f42} “AddIn”=”SonicMCEPlugIn.SonicDiscWriter, SonicMCEBurnEngine,Culture=Neutral,Version=6.1.0.0,PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35”
  • If you have upgraded either a Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008 computer or a computer running an earlier release of Windows 7 to this beta release, using the Guide Search in Windows Media Center to search for Title, Keyword, Actor, or Director will return no results.To correct this, reconfigure Task Scheduler.To reconfigure Task Scheduler
    1. Exit Windows Media Center and start Task Scheduler by clicking Start, clicking Administrative Tools, and then clicking Task Scheduler.
    2. In the Task Scheduler Library, point to Microsoft, point to Windows, and then point to Media Center.
    3. In the middle pane, scroll through the list of Windows Media Center tasks to find RegisterSearch.
    4. Right-click RegisterSearch and click Run.
    5. Close Task Scheduler and wait a few minutes before attempting to use the Guide Search.
  • If you attempt to use Windows Media Center immediately after installing this beta release, you may encounter setup errors or playback failure or Windows Media Center may stop responding.To avoid this, install the following update (either with Windows Update or directly from these links) before you use Windows Media Center.
    For 32-bit editions of Windows 7:
    http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=139392
    For 64-bit editions of Windows 7:
    http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=139393
  • If you have the calendar set to any of the following types, Windows Media Center will stop responding if you attempt to play the sample video:
    • Chinese Lunisolar
    • Hebrew
    • Hijri
    • Japanese
    • Japanese Lunisolar
    • Korean Lunisolar
    • Persian
    • UmAlQura

    There is no workaround at this time other than to avoid playing the sample video while any of these calendar types is set. If this has already occurred, restart Windows Media Center.

  • If a Favorite lineup is configured (either manually or automatically as a Most Viewed item) and the lineup changes because an included channel is completely removed, Windows Media Center will stop responding if you attempt to filter the Guide grid based on the affected lineup.If this occurs for a manually created lineup, turn off Sticky Filters, delete the lineup, and then recreate it.If this occurs with a Most Viewed lineup, click Tasks, click Settings, click General, click Privacy, click Privacy Settings, and then select the Turn off the Most Viewed filter in the Guide check box.
  • If your system includes the Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008 and have applied TV listings to a channel, combined channels, or split channels, Windows Media Center may stop responding if you attempt to use any TV functionality (such as the Guide, PVR features, or LiveTv) after upgrading to this beta release.To correct this, navigate to %programdata%\microsoft\ehome\ and delete the mcepg*.db files before using Windows Media Center TV features.
  • This issue affects computers with the locale set to France or Germany.If you have set a parental control for broadcasts, the control will enforce the highest age restriction regardless of the locale setting. For example, if you have set the age limit so that content tagged for age 13 or above in France would require a PIN, content that is tagged for 12 in France but 14 in Germany would still require the French user to enter a PIN.To work around this, either do not enable parental control ratings in Windows Media Center or lower the age restriction.
  • Certain tuners appear to Windows Media Center as dual tuners even though they are not. Windows Media Center will allow you to schedule two programs for recording at the same time, but only one will actually record, resulting in a missed recording or errors. The tuners known to be affected by this issue are as follows:
    • WinTV-HVR-1300
    • WinTV-Nova-T-500 Dual
    • WinTV-HVR-950
    • WinTV-HVR-950q

    The only workaround at this time is to avoid scheduling two recordings for the same time.

  • If you use an Xbox to listen to AC3 content in a Windows Media Center extender session over an SPDIF or HDMI connection, there may be periodic glitches in the audio.There is no workaround at this time other than to use an analog connection or change the Xbox audio output to Stereo.

Video

Protected TV content requires a graphics processor that supports AES encryption.
There is no workaround at this time.

Audio

When the computer sound is idle for some time, you may occasionally hear a click as a result of the audio driver being suspended or unsuspended to conserve battery power.
No action is required.

Infrared receivers

If you use an infrared receiver to relay TV remote signals to your computer, the computer may fail to resume from sleep.
To avoid this, disconnect the infrared receiver. If this has already occurred, restart the computer.

Video drivers

Systems which use XDDM drivers may completely stop responding in certain scenarios. The computer will not respond to CTRL+ALT+DELETE and you will have to cycle the power to restart the computer, with the attendant risk of loss of unsaved data.
Some activities which have been demonstrated to trigger this issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Using Winsat.exe or using the Rate and improve your computer’s performance tool.
  • Changing multi-monitor configurations
  • DVD or other video playback

To avoid this, do not use XDDM drivers, but find an appropriate WDDM driver instead. If your video chipset does not have a WDDM driver (such as the Intel 915), use a VGA driver or an GPU that supports WDDM drivers.

If this issue occurs at setup, either avoid unattended setup or uninstall the XDDM driver and use a VGA driver until setup is complete.

Apple iTunes

This issue only applies to 64-bit editions of Windows 7.
If you attempt to download and install Apple iTunes, the 32-bit version will be installed instead of the 64-bit version. This will prevent syncing with iPhone.
To avoid this, install the 64-bit version from the following location: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=139389.

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