The guessing game is over! Windows 7, the next major release of the world’s most popular operating system, will be officially available to the public on 22 October.

Now Microsoft is hoping it can avoid the negative press that surrounded the launch of Vista, the last major Windows release, almost three years ago. Windows 7 has been designed to be compatible with Vista so users do not have to invest in new hardware. Customers who buy a new PC with Vista will be offered upgrades to Windows 7.

In order to finish the OS on time, Microsoft plans to wrap up development of the operating system by the middle or end of next month.

Windows 7 promises a major usability improvement on Vista, and a simplification of security measures. Beta testers of Windows 7 have reported that it is faster than Vista.

Microsoft also said without giving specific details that those who purchase PCs running Vista between now and the Release Date will receive either a free or discounted copy of Windows 7.

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