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Windows 7: What will it do? When will it launch? Here's the lowdown

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331w ago - Windows 7, the next version of Windows, is closer than you might think, with early copies already in the hands of OEMs and trusted partners. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer demonstrated an early version of its user interface at the D6: All Things Digital conference in May but Steven Sinofsky - who took over Windows 7 after his success getting Office out of the door on time, time after time - is well known for keeping things close to his chest.

There's been very little solid information about just what's going to go into Microsoft's flagship OS, just plenty of speculation and rumour. So what can you expect from Windows 7? Here's what we predict...

1. Windows 7 won't be a from-the-ground up rewrite of Windows. Instead it'll be an evolution of the NT kernel as updated in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, according to Windows Product Manager Chris Flores. This will mean that applications should run without needing significant changes, and there will be an upgrade path from Windows Vista (though things will be harder for Windows XP users).

The rumoured "MinWin" kernel is most unlikely - though it's likely that there'll be lessons learned from Windows Server 2008's modular architecture, which Microsoft could use to offer a version of Windows 7 that runs on cheap...
 
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