General question about Windows 7, is it possible to get Windows 7 to read text out loud?
Yes, use the Narrator accessibility feature.
You can try Talking Clipboard for Windows 7.
Talking Clipboard is a text to speech conversion software, that can read, any type of document, whether ePub books, web pages (HTML), CHM, PDF, MS Word, RTF, RSS feeds, scanned image documents, etc. using natural sounding synthetic voices (SAPI 5 compliant) and can convert them to MP3 or WAV audio files for your portable music player.
i'm using Cool Reader 2, works fine with Windows 7 x86 (haven't tried with x64)
just load the text file into CR2 and hit Enter to toggle ReadAloud (TTS) on/off or F2 export to MP3.
supported formats: TXT, RTF, DOC, HTML and FB2 (even archived as RAR, ZIP, HA, ARJ or LHA)
CoolReader 2 is free and portable (doesn't require installation)