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New Windows squeaks less

October 29, 2008|The Associated Press

The next version of Microsoft Windows, the software that defines the computing experience for most people, will nag users less than its much-maligned predecessor, Vista. PC users will be able to test the new edition early next year.

The world's largest software maker also is making Word, Excel and other key elements of Office -- its flagship "productivity" programs -- able to run in a Web browser. The move is meant to help confront rivals such as Google Inc. that offer free word processing and spreadsheet programs online, threatening one of Microsoft Corp.'s most precious profit centers.

The Windows and Office news came Tuesday at a Microsoft conference for software developers.

The forthcoming Windows 7 will let users choose to see fewer alerts and warnings from their computers.

Rampant notifications alerting people to security risks irked many Vista users.

Michael Silver, an analyst for Gartner Inc., said a smoother debut for Windows 7 was crucial for Microsoft.

"The real hurdle is to get Vista's reputation behind them," he said.

Windows 7 keeps some of the significant design changes that debuted in Vista, but tosses out others.

In an interview, Julie Larson-Green, a Windows vice president, offered one small example: In Vista, Microsoft took the "add printer" feature out of the Start menu, but is restoring it in Windows 7 after users complained.

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