Microsoft has suspended the download limit on the public beta of its new operating system Windows 7, following huge demand.

In a blog posted on Saturday, Brandon LeBlanc said: "Due to an enormous surge in demand, the download experience was not ideal so we listened and took the necessary steps to ensure a good experience. We have decided remove the initial 2.5 million limit on the public beta for the next two weeks".

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Microsoft announced the public beta of Windows 7 would be available to download from a dedicated website last Friday, although the company did not specify a time. However, the company's servers could not cope with the traffic flooding the site, and many web users found the download page was unreachable, so Microsoft delayed the release of the download.

"Due to very heavy traffic we're seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to the properties before we post the public beta," the company said on its official Windows blog.

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The download was up and running again by Saturday morning. The new OS appears to be require less of a jump up in hardware capability than Vista did.

The minimum system requirements Microsoft suggests for beta testers include a 1GHz processor, 1GB of main memory, 16GB of available disk space, and support for DX9 graphics. The suggested setup is close to what is recommended for Vista, even though the new operating system is appearing several years after its predecessor.

Microsoft says the version of Windows 7 available now is 'feature complete', which means that the functionality of the OS will not change much, if at all when it is officially release. Microsoft says this will be before January 2010, which is the third anniversary of the launch of Windows Vista.

See also: Windows 7: the public beta explained