We're getting a bit tired of the talk about Windows 7 when so much of it is still incomplete, but we can at least share the news that the first proper release candidate will be out on 10 April.

It had been previously reported that it would be due by the end of this month, although that always seemed wide of the mark.

Coming soon

Instead, testing will continue throughout March for a general release six weeks hence. That should be the first major stepping stone on the way to a commercial release well before year's end.

Microsoft has also revealed that the recently closed beta programme resulted in over half a million suggestions from testers about fixes and changes to the new operating system.