Windows 7 set for launch – and the early reviews are positive

For all those PC users who hate Microsoft Vista – prepare to salivate. Windows 7 may be just around the corner.

For all those PC users who hate Microsoft Vista – your salvation, Windows 7, may be just around the corner.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has used his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce that a beta version of Windows 7 will be available for public download and testing from this evening (head to this Windows 7 link if you want to be among the first to check it out).

Microsoft has promised that Windows 7 will fix many user complaints about the much-maligned Vista system, including that Vista was slow to connect to peripheral devices and displayed a wave of annoying warnings and notifications. The company promises Windows 7 will also be faster to boot up and will be slower to drain laptop batteries.

The early reviews from technology writers who have been given preview copies of Windows 7 have been extremely good.

“Windows 7 could be one of Microsoft’s greatest operating systems, if it fulfils the promise shown by the unofficial beta version (build 7000) we have been testing for the past couple of days,” wrote CNet.

“The just-released beta 1 version of Windows 7 is a solid, fast-performing, stable operating system that appears to be just about fully baked and ready for prime time,” says ComputerWorld.

“What Microsoft has realised primarily [from Vista] though is that Windows 7 needs to make everything easier – playing music, joining networks, sharing photos should all feel simpler than they do currently. The good news is that with this beta they already do; if Microsoft can really deliver on that vision in the full release, then Windows 7 should be a formidable program indeed,” says Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

David Markus, managing director of IT firm Combo and a SmartCompany blogger, says rumours that Microsoft will offer Windows 7 as a free upgrade to Vista buyers will win the company back disgruntled Vista users.

“This generous offer in my opinion is a marketing action to save a bad reputation and win back hearts and minds of individuals and small businesses,” he says.

“The enterprise sites that spend the big money on licensing have not adopted Vista. So if Microsoft can win back the small customers and create some good press there is a chance they can get the big buyers to get off Windows 2000 and Windows XP and spend money on Windows 7.”

But he says there is considerable pressure on Microsoft to get it right.

“If Microsoft can’t get Windows 7 right, there is a chance one of their competitors will emerge as the desktop operating system of choice and Microsoft’s effective corporate monopoly will be seriously threatened.”

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