Windows 7

As Microsoft gets nearer to distributing the “release candidate,” or RC, for Windows 7, the company on Thursday talked up some of the fixes and other changes it plans to incorporate into its final code.

But it may have other worries in the meantime. The previous day, one of Microsoft’s hardware partners lent more credence to an earlier-than-expected debut for the new operating system, revealing to the press that Windows 7 would likely become publicly available in the fall.

In no mood to repeat the constant schedule slide that characterized Windows Vista, Microsoft officials have been reluctant to give any date other than the company line — Windows 7 will be out by the time of Vista’s three-year consumer release anniversary on January 30, 2010. Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that Windows 7 will make its appearance far sooner.

In the meantime, there’s plenty to be done before the day that Windows 7 actually does ship, such as fixing bugs and adding minor features before it heads to RC status.