Dell has come up with a novel way to allow customers to pre-order machines with Windows 7.

Under its Windows 7 Free and Easy program, launched on Monday, customers can order a Windows Vista machine now, but elect to have Dell upgrade the PC to Windows 7 before it ships the computer. As a result, customers can order now and get their machine right around the time Windows 7 ships.

It's kind of the reverse of programs that PC makers did after XP could no longer be sold on most new PCs. In that case, computer makers, including Dell, allowed users to order Vista machines that were pre-downgraded to Windows XP.

Full story: c|net