Downloading Widows 7 beta 1 doesn't take much effort. You Google it, as finding anything on Microsoft site is usually a mess, find a direct download link and get on with your business. You need to have a Microsoft account in order to grab your beta and a hotmail passport will do just fine.
You log in, get inside, tell mighty Microsoft your name, email and what MS OS you currently use and what do you do to pay your bills, an you are good to go.
The download itself is 3.5GB, and it is managed by a download manager, allowing you to resume your download easily. The speed depends on the connection, and as soon as you log on you get your key. You do get a warning saying that this beta will expire August 1st 2009, but you will be able to swap this one with Beta 2 and so on, until the final comes out.
As you can imagine, we will try to play with it sooner rather than later.