Act soon if you want to test drive Windows 7, Release Candidate 1, the almost-final version of Microsoft’s new Windows operating system. The shipping version is due out in October. RC1 will be available as a free download for a couple more weeks. After that, you’ll have to wait until October and pay full price.
Win7 offers no earth-shatteringly new features or functions, but does have a few nice enhancements, such as the improved task bar with its big, pop-up preview windows that go to full-screen when you mouse over them. This is also a smaller, more efficient – installs and starts faster – and less problem prone operating system than Vista.
If you’re fed up with Vista, as I was after months of seemingly insoluble performance problems, you might even want to make the permanent switch to Win7 now. If not, you can set up your system to boot with either Vista or Win7. For a discussion of how, when and why to switch, see this story I wrote recently for SmallBusinessComputing.