The wait for Windows 7 will soon be over--at least for those in Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet developer programs. Members of those two groups will have access to the new operating system starting on Thursday.
Another group--large businesses with volume license deals for Windows--will get access to the code on Friday, while other large businesses will be able to get the software starting September 1.
Consumers and small businesses, meanwhile, will have to wait until the product's official launch on October 22, when the product will start shipping on new computers and hit retail shelves.
Another date worth pointing out is August 20--the last day to download the free "release candidate" version of Windows 7. Although it won't last forever, it's a good way for those with some technical know-how to try out Windows 7 for free.