Germany, June 14: The new Windows 7 operating system (OS) will be available starting on October 22, Microsoft says.
Users who buy Microsoft’s current OS, Windows Vista, in the Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate versions will soon be able to take part in an upgrade program with “participating dealers and PC makers.”
That will provide purchasers with a no-cost switch to Windows 7 as soon as it is available. Depending on the provider, some processing charges may apply, Microsoft indicates. Windows 7, which was recently released in a test version, offers expanded protection against data theft and improved energy management in comparison with its predecessor. The latter function in particular is intended to provide longer battery life for mobile usage. The HomeGroup function will make it quicker and easier to add several computers onto a home network. The networking of audio and video devices to play back data stored on computers will also be easier than before.
Some functions previously included within the operating system itself will be available in Windows 7 as “cloud computing,” that is, on the Internet. This includes Windows Mail, calendar, and contact management as well as Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker.
Other changes: the icons on the task bar are bigger, with a new pop-up bar to help users access their most heavily used programs more quickly. There’s also the new Aero Shake function: users can make a window bigger or smaller by shaking the mouse briefly.