Microsoft to offer Windows 7 app testing

Attendees of TechEd will be able to test their business apps in 75 minute time slots.

IT professionals will have a chance to test business applications on Microsoft's next operating system Windows 7 at a "Bring Your Own Applications" lab at the TechEd conference next month.

Microsoft developer Yochat Kiriaty, who announced plans for the lab in a blog posting about the May conference in Los Angeles, said participants will be allowed up to 75 minutes of free time to work in Microsoft's on-site compatibility lab.

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"This lab will allow you to test your applications for compatibility with Windows 7 and will be offered free of charge," he said in the posting. "This is an amazing opportunity to test your applications on Windows 7 and work with Microsoft engineers on specific Windows 7 compatibility issues."

The release candidate will be available to download starting 30 April for Microsoft subscribers, and 5 May for the rest of testers.

Microsoft and PC manufacturers are eager for Windows 7 to catch on, and fast. Vista, the company's current operating system, has been largely rejected by consumers and businesses alike since its introduction. Users complain about Vista's stringent hardware requirements, the OS's meddling security measures and its lack of support for older applications. Beta testers of Windows 7 have been enthusiastic about the new OS - read our review of the beta here.

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Microsoft reported this week that Windows sales declined 16 per cent in the last quarter, leading the way to the company's first-ever decline in quarterly revenue.

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