Windows Longhorn/IE7 Beta Program Rewards!

Windows Vista RTM’d a week ago, and now, the beta testers have gotten their swag. If you (actively) participated in the Longhorn Beta program, this is your chance to get a free (as in free speech beer) Windows Vista Business or Ultimate Edition product key (legally, and it activates!).

We would like to offer you a copy of the software and a product key for Windows Vista Business Edition or, if you are eligible Ultimate Edition. You are eligible to choose Ultimate Edition if the machine on which you intend to install Windows Vista already has a DVD drive and is currently licensed for DVD playback, i.e., you have already licensed one or more pieces of software for playing back DVDs (such as Intervideo® WinDVD®, Cyberlink PowerDVD® or any number of other popular DVD playback applications)

Once you choose your edition and agree to the terms you will immediately be able to download the DVD image.  Your product key will be retrievable within 1 week and you will receive an email notification at that time.  You may immediately install the software by choosing “Next” at the product key prompt during setup.  On the next screen choose the edition that matches your request and continue through setup.  You will have 30 days within which to enter your product key at the activation prompt…

The only requirement to receiving this free product key is that throughout the duration of the beta program you submitted at least one bug – nothing more, nothing less. We’ve seen plenty of swag in and out of Microsoft in our years of beta testing, but we can definitely say this is the largest (and most expensive) swag give-out to date. Thousands of beta testers, unbelievably low requirements, and expensive licenses.

Although the qualification requirements are unbelievably low, the fact remains that hundreds of such “testers” that never filed a bug in the year-and-a-half have already started complaining about not receving a free license. We think the requirements are way more than fair; after all, if one couldn’t be bothered to file a single bug report in a 1.5 years, what use could they possibly have for Vista anyway? The point of a beta program is, the last time we checked at any rate, to report bugs – not to ignore them.

At any rate, if you’ve managed to spare the time for one bug report in 500 days (give or take), congratulations. Head over to now to claim your free product key, you’ve earned it.

Source: Microsoft

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  • 58 thoughts on “Windows Longhorn/IE7 Beta Program Rewards!

    1. Where on this site do we need to go to do this? I cannot find it. I reported bugs via the Microsoft Beta Client, would this influence at all my ability to get keys from this site?

    2. I don’t know, I can’t find anything either. I’m gonna be a little ticked if I can’t get one because I didn’t follow the “correct” procedure for submitting bugs.

    3. Well Matt, that depends. What was the procedure you used?

      That’s correct, bugs reported via the Beta Client make you eligible to receive this free key. Make sure you log in to Connect with the same key you used to submit the bugs however.

    4. I always used the feedback agent, or whatever they call it. Every time something crashed or didn’t work properly, I submitted it.

    5. The Bug Reporting Client or the Error Reporting Utility?

      There’s a difference.

      The Bug Client you must download and install and run and file bugs all on your own.
      The Error Reporting utility is the one where if something goes wrong it says “Send Error Details to Microsoft”

      Which was it?

    6. That doesn’t count.
      It just sends a debug to MS, they still have to do all the work.

      The Bug Client, you describe the problem, when it happens, and what you were doing. That’s why they say thank you 🙂

    7. I’ve been a programmer for about 10 years now. Its hard to imagine that somebody’s account of how something went wrong is more valuable than actual debug info from the OS. Oh well.

    8. I can confirm that I used the MS Beta client, i.e. downloaded, installed and reported full reports.

      I am now logged in to MS Connect using the same passport and still do not see where to go. Please note however, that I am using MS connect for Virtual PC 2007 and VS2005 SP1. I never used Connect for the Vista betas. Could this be the problem then?

    9. Yeah.
      But just a question: how did you get Vista if you never used Connect for Vista? That’s generally the only place to get it from.
      If you’re MSDN or TechNet on the other hand, that’s why. This is only for Tech Beta testers.

      Not really. Because the beta client also sends dump files as well. The memory dump is readily available, but analyzing it is hell. Are you familiar with the steps required to isolate an issue from a full memory dump?

      At any rate, forget that. Let’s say you’re right. How’s Microsoft supposed to know who sent them the info? After all, the error reporting utility doesn’t ask for your name or email… or passport id.

    10. Marc, you must have previously had access to the Vista beta program on Connect.

      Anyone that was not officially a member of the Connect beta tech testing program and received Vista via other means will not be elligible for the free key!

    11. Yes, that is it. I used the Vista key from my MSDN subscription. That is fine, it is just that my subscription is for company use, I was hoping to upgrade my XP media center at home with this.

    12. Yes, I know, but they are not sanctioned for production use. My personal PVR would not count as a developer/testing workstation.

    13. They should know its me because of the product key that I am using that I had to register for.

    14. That’s up to you.
      Vista fans have long since learned to trust NeoSmart Technologies over head-up-in-the-clouds sites like

      Hundreds of people have claimed their keys. The fact that you didn’t submit any bug reports and hence didn’t receive a free key doesn’t mean no one else did.

    15. Hahhaha!

      You must be kidding, I also hundreds of people who submit a bug but did not find anything on the Microsoft Connect website.

      You could do a search on and figure out yourself.

    16. is an official subside of Ziff publisher rather than a web blog called neosmart:)

    17. Oh, one more from the threads so far you were the only one who keep convincing people that they will get someone for free. I suspect that you are making a hoax?

    18. Actually, we spoke to an MS representative directly a couple of hours ago. This person is the very one who put forth the one-bug limit, and is in charge of over-seeing the distribution of the Vista product keys to eligible testers.

      Unlike Microsoft-Watch, NeoSmart Technologies has never made false predictions about Vista release dates, and doesn’t twist articles in favor of it’s advertisers.

      At any rate, I will point you to two other articles wherein commenters verify that they received the build.

      According to Microsoft, at the moment the build is only available for download to USA beta testers. It will be released to international testers in the next couple of days.

    19. @DP – It’s no hoax. I currently see the following listed in the table under ‘My participation’

      Active, Windows Vista Longhorn Server and IE 7 Beta, Your Free Copy of Windows Vista, , , Decline Participation

      Registered for my key, and the iso image is trickling down via the Microsoft file transfer app.

    20. Strange. I ordered the Beta2 DVDs, got the RC1 set and still cannot find anything on connect regardless, that I filed a bug report with downloadable tool.
      Is this normal?

    21. I purchased the beta DVD’s, and installed them all, ending up with RC1 and then RC2. I also submitted one bug via the MicroSoft Beta Client. I did have a Connect account, but when I now go to My Participation, it says “(you are not yet participating in any programs)”.

      So it would appear that the procedure I used may not have an invitation for the free RTM Vista download and key.

      If my efforts did happen to qualify, please let me know. Thanks.

      hcgoldwire -AT-

    22. No, I’m not. I also got a mail fro MS, that explains everything I think:


      Thank you for contacting Microsoft Connect Help ( and for your interest in testing Microsoft products!

      We located your account on Microsoft Connect, but no invitation or enrollment in the technical Windows Vista beta (you may have been registered for the public beta). Access to the download you specified is limited to technical Windows Vista beta testers on Microsoft Connect.

      Microsoft Connect Help Team

      So public beta testing doesn’t count. :/

    23. It’s a semi-automatic mail I think. Semi-automatic in a way, that I got it after I asked them why I can see no product key related stuff at connect webpage.
      Another fellow got almost same on OSNews. Only name differs.
      We’re not worthy… 🙂

    24. Hey, don’t take it personally mate!

      Imagine if MS gave it away for free to everyone that sent a bug report? I’m sure if they could make exceptions there would a quite a few people worthy of receiving it, but then again, it’d turn into a “But he got one, and he wasn’t in the Tech Beta either!” kind of thing.

    25. Yea, that’s why I put there the smiley. Maybe we’ll have better luck next time. Have a nice weekend!

    26. Nope.
      Only Tech Beta. For Microsoft, the CPP was a gift to the non-TAP, non-MSDN, non-Tech Beta people that wanted to see what Vista was all about and/or make their programs work with it.

    27. I was part of the CPP and submitted a few bugs via the windows Vista error reporting tools and Office Send a smile feedback program, but not connect.

      I could tell you what those bugs at but I tested so many darn builds from beta 2 5384,  5536, 5600, 5728, + RC2 that every time I reinstalled I wiped out windows and those bug files.

      A free copy of windows would have been nice, but hey at least I made the product better 🙂  

    28. Yeah, that’s CPP.

      The good news though (that no one seems to mention) is that if you weren’t in the Tech Beta program and you did help, you’ll probably be picked for the Fiji or Vienna beta program – and then you can reap the rewards. No good deed goes unrewarded, remember that.

    29. I received my free Vista invitation a week ago (last Thursday), filled-out the survey, received access to the downloads, but have yet to receive my key. Has anyone received their key?


    30. So I take it people in the CPP won?t get any free keys even if we did submit bug reports?

      No, but MS should give CPP users a nice discount, don’t you think?

    31. Well, I’m using the Ultimate edition right now and I have a slight problem.

      I was a beta teter and recieved my Ultimate DL link + a Key after two weeks… just activated and worked fine untill i installed a Vista driver for my 7600GT… Vista un-activated and warned me about “three day remaining” yada yada…. now, when I try to activate, I get “Key in use error”… whats going on? It was kinda hard to swallow to begin with… nothing is free…

    32. Some people have reported problems with the activation system. Simply call the toll-free number on the activation page, tell them your activation code, and they’ll give you what you need to get things going. Just make sure you emphasize it’s one one and only one machine.

    33. “For Microsoft, the CPP was a gift to the non-TAP, non-MSDN, non-Tech Beta people that wanted to see what Vista was all about and/or make their programs work with it.”

      Horse hooey. For M$, this was a way to generate interest in Vista and then screw themselves over by giving 3-5 million testers absolutely nothing. Oh well, it was a pleasant fiction while it lasted – the idea that M$ actually cares about its customers. I hear a new Mac calling me. However, I suspect many of my fellow CPP testers will just visit their favorite site to get a nice crack for Vista and pirate the Ultimate edition. Way to go, M$!

    34. just copy and paste the Product keys

      Windows vista Home premium

      Product key:

      Windows vista Home basic

      Product key:

      Enjoy holla at me i’ll give you more

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