San Francisco: A nearly-final version of Windows 7 made its world debut on Tuesday, giving people a chance to tell Microsoft what they love or hate about the new-generation operating system.
Microsoft is making a Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) available as the global software giant puts finishing touches on an operating system that it hopes will escape criticism heaped on its predecessor Vista.
“It appears that they are on target,” said analyst Michael Cherry of private firm Directions on Microsoft, which specializes in tracking the US software giant.
“I think we need to be cautious though. Windows 7 is still in development. While Microsoft is certainly moving on to the next logical milestone, this is still a test version of the operating system.”
People are invited to download the software from Microsoft’s official website and install it on computers in a public test of the operating system’s capabilities.
“You put it on your PC, and then do what you’d normally do,” Microsoft said in a message on the download page.
“Your PC will automatically and anonymously send our engineers the information they need to verify the fixes and changes they made based on the Windows 7 Beta tests.”
Microsoft’s website gives Windows 7 installation instructions and tells visitors that the RC “expires” on 1 June 2010. The RC will begin warning users in March of next year by shutting down their machines every two hours.
Copies of the RC were made available to developers last week and early reviews have praised the operating system for its stability and for avoiding problems that marred Vista’s image.
Complaints about Vista included that it was not compatible with some software designed for the previous-generation Windows XP operating system and that it was too much for netbooks or older computers to handle.
“Windows 7 is everything that Vista should have been,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.
“It’s less annoying and it’s a fraction of the size. The only thing working against them is the economy; people without money aren’t going to buy no matter how good the product.”
Enthusiastic early reviews of Windows 7 are stoking speculation that Microsoft will release a final version of the new operating system in time for the year-end holiday shopping season.
“It makes sense that Microsoft should have it pre-Christmas,” Cherry said of Windows 7.
“I think you need to keep in mind that if something comes up in testing they are going to take the delay and get it right. Microsoft doesn’t need a problem on their hands.”