If you've heard all about the free download of a beta version of Windows 7 but been unable to get your hands on a copy yet there's still time to do so, after Microsoft announced an extension to the public trial at the weekend.

The company said it was scrapping the 24 January deadline and keeping the Windows 7 download servers running until 10 February – more than two weeks longer than it originally planned.

Demand easing?

While the Redmond firm says the extension is due to unprecedented enthusiasm, some are wondering if it really means demand for the next version of Windows hasn't been as great as expected.

At the 10 January beta launch, Microsoft said it would offer 2.5 million copies to download; a target that, presumably, hasn't been hit yet.

Enthusiasm abounds

Nevertheless, a company spokesman put a positive spin on the new deadline, saying: "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."

Anyone starting a download by the 10 February cut-off will actually have until 12 February to finish it, while MSDN professionals and TechNet subscribers won't be affected at all.