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Good early reviews of Windows 7 beta is prompting some enterprises to cancel version migration plans from XP and skip over Vista, according to a new report by ChangeWave.

In the survey of 2,000 corporate IT buyers, 53 percent said they were planning to skip Vista altogether and wait for Windows 7’s general availability. Only 15 percent said they would proceed with their Vista upgrade from XP, which Microsoft recommends.

The recession has taken its toll on PC and computer equipment sales, and the wait for Windows 7 is fueling part of the sagging demand, the survey found. Fourteen percent of survey participants said they’ve deferred PC and equipment purchases until Windows 7 is released.

In the same survey, ChangeWave asked 68 beta testers for their initial impressions of the Windows 7 operating system. Forty-four percent were "very satisfied" with the design and performance of the new Microsoft operating system. Only 10 percent of Windows Vista beta testers gave that operating system high marks.

As one beta tester told ChangeWave, "It takes less memory and boots faster, and reminds me of a new XP."

Surveyed Windows 7 beta testers raved about the operating system’s easy install, completeness of software drivers, clean interface and desktop, and speed.

Windows Vista, the much anticipated successor to Windows XP, was more than five years in the making and more than a year overdue when it was released in early 2007. While Microsoft says more than 300 million Vista licenses have been sold, enterprise and SMB IT departments say they’ve been reluctant to upgrade because of compatibility and performance issues with the operating system.

Windows XP remains the preferred Microsoft platform. Microsoft had planned to retire XP shortly after it releases Windows 7 later this year, but it recently extended OEM partners’ rights to sell XP through April 2010. Additionally, Microsoft will continue supporting XP into 2010.