An enhanced version of Windows Easy Transfer, native to Windows 7, lets users port files, user accounts, and application settings from a Windows XP or Windows Vista system to a Windows 7-based PC in just a few steps, according to Microsoft officials.
"The first thing people will likely notice about the new version of Windows Easy Transfer is that it has an updated, cleaner, and much simpler UI," said Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Tuesday.
"The new version of Windows Easy Transfer detects all user profiles on a single PC and allows customers to pick and choose which of the user profiles they want to transfer from," LeBlanc said.
That allows, say, parents who buy a new computer to easily transfer over only their files and settings while leaving the kids' apps and games intact on the older machine. "It permits users to 'split' a PC," said LeBlanc.
Microsoft on Tuesday made a nearly final version of Windows 7 available to the general public.
Windows 7 "Release Candidate" is available as a free download from the company's Windows Web site. Last week, Microsoft began offering Windows 7 RC to professional users who belong to its TechNet and MSDN communities.
Windows 7 RC contains most of the features that will be included in the final version of the OS, including support for touch-screen interfaces, and it's been tested for compatibility with hardware and software from most major vendors through a months-long beta trial program. Still, Microsoft typically warns computer users not to use prerelease software for critical tasks or in key business production environments.
Windows 7 RC will function until June 1, 2010. After that, users will need to upgrade to a full, paid version of the operating system to continue use. A final version of Windows 7 is expected to ship sometime later this year, though Microsoft remains mum on a specific date.
Microsoft hopes Windows 7 helps it recover from the Vista flop. Vista failed to catch on with mainstream computer users and businesses have shunned it. Windows 7 is said to be lighter and easier to use than its predecessor.