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by JB Burke

Q. I’ve heard that Microsoft will release the successor to Vista this fall. Is it true? How do I get a look at it?

A. You’ve heard correctly. The new Windows 7 OS is due to be delivered on October 22. You can try out Windows 7 on your own computer. It’s called the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), and it’s available for free download now. There are a few gotchas, however.

This isn’t the final version, so it may be a bit buggy. Therefore, you shouldn’t make it your primary OS for important apps – like banking for instance.

The RC will expire on June 1, 2010 – to keep using System 7 after that, you’ll need to buy a copy.

You can get the RC for free, along with a license key, here.

You probably don’t want to install Windows 7 over Vista or XP, so you should either install it on a different computer or as a Dual Boot OS on your primary computer … if you have space for it, and if you have the technical knowhow to avoid disabling your current, running system. If this all seems like Greek to you, don’t attempt it. But if you are a geek, you will find instructions on how to create a dual boot system here or just Google “Dual Boot Windows 7”.

A final word of warning – be careful. Always backup your system before making any changes to it. Remember - the system you save may be your own.

Published: Courier 6/21/09 - Page 4C