Over 250 hardware and software products designed to work with Windows Vista will be in the stores in time for Xmas, according to Microsoft.

Vista was originally supposed to ship for consumers around the same time, but it was pushed back in March until January. Business users however should have Vista sometime in November.

Products tagged "Certified for Windows Vista" has been designed with the OS in mind, while those with "Works with Windows Vista" are simply compatible with it.

The head of Windows marketing Mike Sievert is expected to highlight Vista-ready partner products and those almost approved in his keynote addres at the Digital Life show this week, including Canon's HV-10 HD Camcorder, Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, Logitech’s MX3200 Laser cordless desktop set and the MX Revolution mouse.

Products from ATI, Canon, Logitech and Nvidia have already qualified for the certified Vista logo, and others such as Belkin, CA, Corel and D-Link be ready in time fro Vista's launch. Microsoft has been making a major push to have PCs and third-party products ready to run on and with Windows Vista once it ships.

In addition to the partner product news, Sievert on Thursday also will announce that two key software features of Vista - Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Media Player 11 - will soon be available for Windows XP. IE7 will be made available to Windows XP customers via a free download in the next two weeks, and Windows Media Player 11 will be available from 24 October.