Are you analytical and enjoy testing out the latest and greatest software and tools out there?

Do you hesitate to install the latest version of a set of drivers, software update, etc. or do you just go without even backing up your data?

Do your family and friends call you for tech support and helping them with their computers?

Well, if you answered yes to any of the above questions then you just might have what it takes to be a beta tester.

I enjoy beta testing for several reasons.  Getting that early peek at new technology and software is very cool.  Getting to know other like minded people who are also in a beta test is superb and I have lifelong folks that I keep in contact with outside of the beta programs I have been in because of that. I like tweaking and exploring software to see how it ticks.

Getting in to be a Microsoft Beta Tester used to be so hard (IMHO).  I spent about 6 years trying to get in.  I can remember back when there was an email alias to Microsoft that you had to send an email to.  You would get an automatic reply that had you answer several details about who you were, your background and experience and what program you wanted to test in.  Of course back then my goal was to test the Windows operating system.

Well try as I might in those days I never got a reply or accepted into any program.  So I continued learning and tweaking all that I could.  I would resend that email every once in a while hoping to get accepted but it never came.

Then a few years ago along came Microsoft Connect.


Connect was a clearing house for software testing and information distribution for the various Microsoft teams that developed software, etc.  Within the structure of Connect there were discussion groups, tools to submit bugs and loads of information on various Microsoft software and hardware.

The great thing about Connect was that you did not need an invite to sign up for access to Connect – if you have a Windows Live ID – you can sign up for access to Connect.  No email aliases or anything.

Once you sign up you will have access to a list of available programs on Connect that you can sign up for and join in testing software. 

My involvement in testing what I will call “entry level” programs allowed me to make connections with other beta testers and that led to an invite to test Windows Messenger.  From there it just kind of grew and I was invited to other programs.

I believe some of the programs share testers back and forth so it is important to be involved in whatever beta you might get into and show how valuable a tester you can be. I was quite happy to be able to help out on the software I was testing and had in fact kind of forgotten about OS testing.

One thing leads to another and for me I eventually received that invite I had been trying to get for several years – to beta test a Microsoft operating system.  At that time it was Windows Vista and I have been lucky enough since then to be involved in other OS testing as well as the Windows Live programs and other great software.

So go on over to Microsoft Connect and get yourself signed up and working on those betas – you never know what the future might hold.

Getting Started with Microsoft Connect