Bowdoin students awaiting Microsoft's new operating system will likely have to wait until fall in order to download the program from the campus network.

Vista, the latest edition of Microsoft Windows, is slated for worldwide release on January 30. It features improved searching and security tools, and redesigned networking, audio, print, and display systems.

But Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis expects that the software will need to go through six to eight months of testing before students and faculty are allowed to install the software on their computers for free.

"I don't see it being available to everyone until next fall," Davis said.

After the software arrives next month, Information Technology will pinpoint specific problems with the operating system and make necessary adjustments. Once the glitches are resolved, Davis intends to run a pilot with students to test the software.

"Testing the software out with a handful of students allows us to make final adjustments before we release it to the entire community," he said.

Pending a successful pilot, students and staff can look forward to a new, free operating system for their PCs by September.