Users still having problems downloading WinXP beta

An unspecified number of users on Tuesday continued having problems downloading a preview version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system, set for final release in October.

Around 50,000 users signed up to receive a 600M-byte download of the Windows XP beta, but glitches in the registration process kept some users from receiving valid user IDs and passwords needed for the download process.

With the launch of its .Net strategy a year ago, Microsoft has fully embraced the concept of providing software as a service via the Internet. But problems such as this one and the one that plagued the company's instant messaging service in the past week have observers questioning whether Microsoft will be able to pull off its vision.

The vast majority of users enrolled in the program back in March with more trickling in when Microsoft officially announced the beta download last week. Users were asked to pay US$9.95 for the software and were told they would receive a password via e-mail to initiate the download once their payment and registration information had been confirmed.

Microsoft began sending out batches of 5,000 passwords at a time starting last week, but a number of users complained that their passwords did not work correctly or that they had not received the information at all. While a Microsoft representative claimed all of the problems have been fixed, Conxion Corp. -- one of the company's partners managing part of the download process -- confirmed that some users are still facing problems, according to a Conxion spokeswoman.

Users flocked Tuesday to a message board on Microsoft's Web site with many grumbling about the problem.

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Ashlee Vance

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