So, here we go again; a new version of Windows is soon to be here, with new features, a new interface and the same old promises.
Microsoft claims Windows 7 lets people get more done in less time with fewer clicks. In short, the software giant says Windows 7 is its best ever operating system (OS) - and this time it means it.
To be fair, we don't need to rely on the promises of Microsoft executives to judge the merits of Windows 7. PC Advisor's editorial team has been using pre-release versions of the new OS for a year and, as you'll see from the 22 pages of Windows 7 coverage in our December issue, we have very little bad to say about it.
We like the tweaked taskbar, the fact that you have more control over security settings, the arrival of Jump Lists and the more media-savvy Windows Media Player. But it's the fundamental improvements that really impress: faster boot times, undemanding hardware requirements and the absence of the widespread compatibility problems that hampered Windows 7's predecessor, Vista. There are a few niggles with the new OS but, overall, our verdict is positive.
That's just as well, because many commentators believe Windows 7 is the most important product in Microsoft's recent history. Rightly or wrongly, Vista is regarded as the worst OS the company has ever produced. It got off to a bad start, partly because Microsoft over-hyped its capabilities before launch and partly because of compatibility problems with third-party software and hardware.
The upshot is that a lot of people who would normally have upgraded by now stuck with Windows XP and, today, the eight-year-old product remains the world's most popular OS. Although it's been discontinued by Microsoft, many of us still install XP on new PCs with the ability to ‘downgrade' new Vista licences.
Many of you told us you were waiting for Windows 7 before upgrading, and the good news is that making the switch should be relatively painless, whether you're running XP or Vista. The hardware requirements are such that if your computer runs Vista, it should have no problems handling its successor. And many Windows XP machines bought in the past five years should, in principle, run the OS, albeit after a slightly more complicated installation procedure.
If you've been waiting for Windows 7's release before forking out for a brand-new PC, we've also catered for you this month, with 10 Windows 7 desktops being put through their paces. So whether you want to upgrade your current system, buy a brand-new PC or simply learn about Windows 7's features before making up your mind, pick up a copy of the December issue of PC Advisor for your complete guide to Microsoft's latest, greatest OS.