Microsoft finally sorts out Windows 7 UK upgrade

Windows 7 Boxes

UK users will be able to upgrade to Windows 7 as well as getting the discounted Family Pack, it emerged today as Microsoft finally figured out its own pricing strategy for Europe.

There has been much confusion over the past few weeks surrounding Microsoft's pricing for its next operating system, due on 22 October for consumers.

At first, there was to be a Europe-only version, which didn't come with Internet Explorer pre-installed - in order to keep EU regulators off Microsoft's back. It wasn't possible to do an upgrade version this way, so UK buyers were offered the full version of the OS at much lower upgrade prices.

That plan was ditched in favour of a browser ballot system, which would see Microsoft promote rival browsers. It meant a European version was not necessary, but it took Microsoft weeks to sort out whether the UK would now also get upgrade versions of the software, or remain with just full editions.

In the meantime, full versions of the OS have been selling at a ridiculous discount for upgrade prices on sites like Amazon, while Microsoft's own site continued to sell European versions.

Confused? Don't worry - Microsoft has finally sorted itself out.

From 1 September, prices for the upgrade-only version of Windows 7 Upgrade will be:

Windows 7 Home Premium 79.99 until 31 December, 99.99 thereafter

Windows 7 Professional 189.99

Windows 7 Ultimate 199.99

For the full version of Windows 7:

Windows 7 Home Premium 149.99

Windows 7 Professional 219.99

Windows 7 Ultimate 229.99

However, the upgrade won't be available to preorder until 1 September, so if you want the full version for the upgrade price, now's the time to buy. Last week, Amazon had the Home Premium version for as little as 65.

In addition, any customers who have already preordered the European version of Windows 7 will receive the same version as everyone else, so if you've already placed an order, you have nothing to worry about.

Microsoft will also be offering a Family Pack for 149.99, which includes three copies of Home Premium for up to three PCs. However, Microsoft warned that limited copies would be available.

Aside from clarity on the pricing, the announcement also means people using Vista or XP can install the new OS on top of the old one, keeping data and existing software in place.