Yes, Virginia, there's a leaked copy of Windows 7 beta floating around, and if you aren't the type to "break the law" and check it out yourself, the folks at Tech Cast News have made for you a picture-laden walkthrough of the installation process and some of the OS's new features, including Alt+Tab doppelganger Aero Peek, the icon-only Taskbar interface, and the Smart Folder-esque Libraries. Overall, they found the beta a major improvement over Vista and predict the final release will put Microsoft in consumers' good graces again. Here's hoping that apparent January beta release comes to fruition so we can sweep that other OS under the rug a little bit faster.

Update: Looks like Tech Cast News is down, standby for innovative Ballmer-based conspiracy theories.

Update 2: ... and it's back!