Here comes Windows 7

REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft has announced the release date for Windows 7 as October 22.

PC World reports the development of the operating system will finish up in July and it will then be passed on PC manufacturers, with the retail launch set for the fall.

Pricing has not been announced, but according the Microsoft, Windows 7 will be available in six versions: five different editions in most markets -- Starter, Home

Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate -- as well as a "Windows 7 Basic" sold in emerging markets.

Microsoft said almost all PCs sold in the U.S. will come loaded with either the Home Premium or Professional editions of the OS, according to CNET.

The company also will provide a "tech guarantee" for upgrading users who buy a machine pre-loaded with Vista close to the Windows 7 release date.

Originally, the launch was set for January 2010, but it appears MS wants to take advantage of holiday period shopping, good news for the computer firm and retailers.

Windows 7 release follows the debut of its highly hyped Vista system less than three years ago, in January 2007. In contrast, Vista arrived some five years after the still-popular Windows XP bowed in 2001.

For those who want to try it now, Microsoft is offering the Windows 7 Release Candidate for testing. This is the final pre-release version of the OS.