There is a great deal of conflicting information about when Microsoft will release its newest version of Windows, Windows 7. The company CEO announced this week that Microsoft is releasing a free beta (test) version on Friday, January 9th, while Silicon Valley Insider reports an MS exec's speculation that the OS in final form wouldn't hit the market until perhaps 2010. This follows an earlier rumor that the OS would be loaded on new PCs around the middle of 2009.

What does this mean to you? It means you might want to hold off on purchasing a PC running Windows Vista, at least until Microsoft promises a free upgrade at the time of the Windows 7 release. Given the problems users have encountered with Vista, one can only hope that Windows 7 is an improvement. Many users are still clinging to their old Microsoft XP, and I can't blame them. I've had dozens of blue screens with Vista when I had almost none with XP. In fact, Dell has found such demand that it has been able to charge an extra $150 bucks just to replace Vista with XP on new computers ordered.

As far as Microsoft's offer of a free beta version of Windows 7? Given its track record of putting out software that isn't ready for prime time (oh, Windows Millennium,) why would you want to take on a version even less polished? Unless you feel the need to punish your computer...


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