Microsoft has announced that Windows 7 will be available on 22 October. The company had promised to have the new OS ready within three years of Windows Vista's January 2007 launch, but has been so pleased with the Windows 7 code that it's brought the launch date forwards.
Pricing has still to be confirmed, although it's likely that manufacturers will be able to offer free upgrades to people who buy Vista computers up to one month before Windows 7's official launch.
Windows 7 will be available in five versions: Starter, for netbooks, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Starter was original slated for only allowing up to three applications to be run simultaneously, but Microsoft has since removed that restriction, presumably due to the threat from other netbook operating systems, such as Android.
After the relative disappointment of Vista, the future looks bright for Windows 7, with positive reports coming from users that have tried that early Release Candidate version. Shopper has extensively tested the new OS and can confirm that it's quicker than Windows Vista, particularly when booting, and seems more stable, too.
If you'd like to try out Windows 7 for free before the official launch date, you can download the official Release Candidate for free. This version will work until 1 June 2010, giving almost a year's free usage.