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Windows 7 due in July, will include XP too

Windows 7 appears to be mere weeks away, but don't hold your breath

After the guessing games of last week, it has been officially announced that Microsoft will definitely be issuing the final release candidate for Windows 7 next month.

The Windows 7 RC will go out to MSDN and TechNet professionals on 30 April and more widely on 5 May. After that, it's almost certain that the retail version will appear in the summer, probably in July.

Shares pick up

Although Microsoft announced a 32 per cent drop in quarterly profits this week, its shares rose when it became clear that the much-anticipated operating system would get an early release.

Also, fears about backwards compatibility for older pieces of software look to have been eased after leaks suggest Windows 7 will be able to emulate Windows XP.

Virtual XP too

Experts at SuperSite for Windows say XP Mode will come as a free download for users of the Professional and Ultimate versions of Windows 7.

Reportedly, it will offer a virtual workspace running XP with Service Pack 3 inside a container that remains separate from the rest of the OS.