It seems that Microsoft has been upping the ante; TG Daily and Neowin have revealed that a very early next version of Windows, Windows 7 or Seven, has already been sent to Key Partners - the likes of Dell, HP or IBM, for validation purposes.
A member of Neowin's Forum has even been able to publish what appears to be a genuine preview of the operating system - although this one did not carry any screenshots.
The build previewed is 6.1.6519 with a Graphics user interface which looks much like Windows Vista and the system, according to the previewer, was nippy consuming only 480MB after boot.
Although most observers believe that Microsoft will release Windows 7 in 2010, four years after Windows Vista, there are signs - including the eagerness with which Microsoft is working on Seven - that Seven will be released ahead of schedule - that's next year, in a bid to provide with a good reason for Windows XP owners to upgrade.
Windows Vista had an unusually long development period - more than five years compared to the less than three years between Windows 95 and Windows 98.
The current M1 build is available in English and features a new version of Media centre and has the capability of handling video cards from more than one vendor.
Backed in October, Microsoft (Via Engineer Eric Traut and Istartedsomething) showed Windows 7's Core Kernel known as MinWin which consumed only 40MB of memory.