Microsoft have announced that Windows 7 will see its official release on October 22nd 2009. The OS - which is currently in public beta - will be officially available in seven different versions, from the Windows 7 Starter, intended for netbooks and the like, all the way through to Windows 7 Ultimate, with Enterprise, Home and Pro versions along the way.
For Microsoft, it's a chance to claw back users' trust after Vista proved something of a disappointment. Early feedback on Windows 7 suggests that it blends the relatively light footprint of XP with the visual appeal of Vista, throwing in extra usability to boot.
As for the beta, that will remain operational for those too cheap or too lazy to buy the official release up until June 1st 2010. However as of March 1st it will begin shutting down every two hours, which Microsoft describes as a "friendly reminder" that they want their tithe.