CWmike writes "The rumors turned out to be true. Microsoft will release a public beta this week of its next desktop operating system, Windows 7, hoping it will address the problems that have made Windows Vista perhaps the least popular OS in its history. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will launch the beta during his speech at the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Preston Gralla reviewed Windows 7 beta 1, noting 'Fast and stable, Beta 1 of Windows 7 unveils some intriguing user-interface improvements, including the much-anticipated new task bar.' MSDN and Technet subscribers should be able to get the public data tonight. The general public will have to wait until Friday."