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(Reuters) – As Microsoft Corp’s Windows 7 release approaches, early reviews are generally positive. But so were reviews for Windows Vista just before its launch.

In the months leading up to Windows 7’s release this Thursday, publications from ComputerWorld to the New York Times have written favorable assessments, praising, in particular, its increased speed and compatibility with older computers.

But Vista got high marks before its release as well, with writers back then praising a new visual design — and glossing over quirks that later became common gripes.

"I was the editor of PC World at the time that review was done and yes, I wish in retrospect we’d held to somewhat a higher standard," said former Editor-in-Chief of PC World, Harry McCracken, who now blogs on his own site, Technologizer.

After its release in 2007, Vista — which runs on roughly 20 percent of the world’s PCs made by the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co, Acer and Dell Inc — went on to become a roundly criticized and unpopular product, with many opting to stick to the aging Windows XP instead.

But to have read the reviews at the time, one would have thought Vista was certain to be a success.

In a 2006 review, PC World said, "All in all, Windows Vista is a great leap forward for the operating system."

While he stands by those words, writer Preston Gralla said he regretted not testing Vista on a wider variety of hardware, because many issues arose after the event, when users had had time to play with the software — a requirement that he believes is diminished for Windows 7.

"I certainly have learned from the Vista experience to try as hard as I possibly can to try to get the kind of hardware people are using to review it on," he said.

Some were more critical — slightly. At the conclusion of his 2007 review for Businessweek, Steve Wildstrom wrote, "Vista is a big step forward; in time, you’ll want it."

Not so much anymore. "If I could go back and do it over, I would be more negative," he said.

(Reporting by Ian Sherr; Editing by Valerie Lee)