Early ratings from beta testers of Windows 7 showed that users were four times more satisfied with Microsoft's new OS compared to Vista's early users, according to a poll of corporate IT professionals. The software firm has also agreed to allow Windows 7 customers to downgrade not just to Vista but also to XP.

In a poll of corporate IT professionals conducted by ChangeWave Research, 44 percent of the 68 users testing Windows 7 said they were “very satisfied” with the beta version of the OS.

In comparison, back in a February 2007 ChangeWave survey soon after Vista's release, only 10 percent said they were Very Satisfied.

Significant improvements were cited in performance and speed. As one respondent put it, The new software is quick to install, and picked up all of the correct drivers. Another noted that it Takes less memory and boots faster, and reminds me of a new XP.

The desktop is cleaner, said another, and the OS can be customized with whatever services you want to run.

There were also some downsides to the OS, with respondents primarily complaining about Windows 7's instability and incompatibility with older software and hardware.

A little unstable when using non-Microsoft applications, wrote one respondent.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has agreed to allow Windows 7 customers to downgrade not just to Vista but also to XP.

Microsoft will be offering an n-2 downgrade option with Windows 7 to help customers plan their migrations from XP. An XP downgrade from Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate will be available until six months after General Availability, a Microsoft spokesman told The Register.

New images of Microsoft 7 leaked on the web today. Click here to view the screenshots.