Technology bloggers Jake Ludington and Chris Pirillo have set up VistaTorrent.com, a site that serves up a torrent of the 32- and 64-bit English language versions of the operating system's beta.
Ludington and Pirillo also provided a checksum to verify the massive file once it's downloaded, and point users to free BitTorrent clients and checksum checkers.
"This is not a crack, this is not a hack, this is not software piracy -- it's unofficial mirroring with official validation," the pair wrote on their VistaTorrent.com site. "You can get a Windows Vista Beta 2 product key for free through Microsoft, as the OS won't install without one."
Microsoft hasn't asked that the site stop serving the torrent, but it did send the pair a message that they posted on the page. "While we understand people may be looking for faster ways to download it, we continue to encourage anyone interested in receiving the code to visit the [official] web site to obtain a valid product key," the Microsoft statement read. "Any pirated product keys, obtained from sources other than Microsoft, will be closed down immediately."
"Microsoft has been experiencing an incredibly high volume of demand since making downloads and orders available via the CPP," a spokesperson said Monday afternoon. "Some customers attempting to sign up for the CPP [Customer Preview Program] may be asked to try again later so that the demands being placed on the CPP system are more balanced over time. Ordering beta 2 via a DVD kit is another option that Microsoft recommends."
Since the beta broke last Wednesday, Microsoft has said that demand, while high, hasn't exceeded expectations or outrun its planned server capacity. Rather, it had been choking downloads over concerns that Vista Beta 2 would have an adverse affect on the Internet.
"If we pushed out bits any faster there would be a measurable impact for the Internet," another Microsoft representative has said. "It isn't that we weren't anticipating demand -- we were and are -- it is that we are at the threshold of what the Internet can bear."