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Windows 7 beta to be available through Feb. 10

In a blog posting, Microsoft says it will make the test version available longer than expected, but suggests people download sooner rather than later.

Microsoft announced Friday night that computer enthusiasts will have a while longer to get their hands on the beta version of Windows 7.

In a blog posting, Microsoft said that the test version of the operating system will be available for download through February 10. Previously, Microsoft had said that the OS would only be open through late this month.

The betta tsh, the unofficial mascot of the Windows 7 beta.

"We are at a point where we have more than enough beta testers and feedback coming in to meet our engineering needs, so we are beginning to plan the end of general availability for Windows 7 Beta," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc said in the blog posting. "Because enthusiasm continues to be so high for the Windows 7 Beta and we don't want anyone to miss out, we will keep the Beta downloads open through February 10th."

Those who start the download process before February 10 will have until February 12 to finish the task.

The deadline applies to the general public, while members of Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN developer programs will continue to have access to the code, LeBlanc said.

CEO Steve Ballmer announced the beta of Windows 7 during his speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7. After a slight hiccup, Microsoft made the code available on January 10.