Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the Consumer Electronics Show 2009, that Windows 7 – the new Microsoft operating system that replaces the much-criticized Windows Vista – will be available as a public beta on January 9.
This means that the software is still in the testing phase, but you can go to the Microsoft web site, download it and run it on your computer. Often, user feedback from software beta versions has resulted in major changes to the software when it is finally released.
Microsoft is eager to get Windows 7 into people's hands given the negative reaction to Windows Vista, released in 2007.
According to Wired.com, Microsoft promises that Windows 7 will have "faster startup and shutdown times, fewer security alerts, and will provide better power management leading to improved battery life on laptops.. [It will allow] easier management of peripheral devices such as cell phones and digital cameras... [and] have an updated taskbar, new animated desktop effects, context-sensitive menus and a smarter desktop search tool. And it will be svelte enough to run on a netbook with as little as 1GB of RAM and a 1GHz processor.”
See Library staff member Chris Hunsanger's early review of the beta of Windows 7.