I don't know why it took so long, but Microsoft has finally fixed Vista. Only it isn't calling it Vista. Instead the company is working on what it's calling a new version of Windows, Windows 7. The operating system isn't commercially available, but is likely to be out by the end of the year.
I don't know how much Microsoft plans to charge for the upgrade once it's officially available, but the company should give it away free to anyone who bought Vista or a PC with Vista preinstalled. Even though there are some new features, Windows 7 strikes me mostly as a bug fix. It speeds up Windows and fixes one of its most annoying "features" and makes one particularly useful change to the user interface. It seems to me that anyone who paid for Vista is entitled to this upgrade.
Microsoft has launched a free, public, beta test of the software, but to participate you must download it by Feb. 10. It's not for everyone. Microsoft strongly recommends that "only experienced computer users sign up" for the beta program. Displayed on the screen is the caveat, "For testing purposes only." The beta will expire in August, but should be replaced by a newer beta or the real product. If you're game, you can download the beta test of Windows 7 at Microsoft's Web site
I installed it on two machines, a brand new desktop and an older notebook PC. The notebook installation was an upgrade of an old copy of Vista that I've had for a couple of years. As is often the case with Windows, the OS on that machine got pretty slow after two years of use. But Windows 7 sped it up. Until now, every new version of Windows was slower than the one it replaced.
… Read more