Microsoft's new Windows 7, which will hit stores and be available on new computers from next week Thursday, ought to turn the troubled Vista into a vague and distant memory.

The new operating system, which has been available in test format for months, has been praised by reviewers as a replacement for the unpopular Vista, launched nearly three years ago

Current Windows Vista users will need to pay $119.99 to go from Vista's Home Premium edition to 7 Home Premium. The benefit that most critics have confirmed is that Windows 7 offers a better performance.

In the corporate world, the vast majority of firms never upgraded to Vista. That was because only half of corporate PCs met the minimum system requirements to run Vista when it debuted in early 2007, currently 88 percent of corporate PCs meet the minimum requirements for Windows 7, according to a new study by IT solution provider Softchoice.

Additionally, some 65 percent of current corporate PCs meet optimal system recommendations to run the new system.