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Microsoft Unveils Windows 7 Upgrade Options

Microsoft last week disclosed consumer pricing for Windows 7 upgrades, unveiling the Family Pack and Windows Anytime Upgrade options.

Microsoft described its Windows 7 prices in late June but waited until Friday to disclose these upgrade options. Microsoft had rolled out similar upgrade options when it first introduced Windows Vista to the market.

Windows 7 Family Pack lets consumers upgrade to Windows Home Premium for installation on up to three PCs for $150 in the U.S. market. This sort of upgrade might appeal to families using HomeGroup, a feature in Windows 7 that lets users share multimedia files.

Microsoft is saying that the Family Pack will be available "until supplies last here in the US and other select markets," according to a Windows 7 blog. However, the blog didn't specify those markets, nor did it explain why supplies will be limited.

Windows Anytime Upgrade will let Windows 7 users upgrade to a more feature-rich version of the operating system via a product key. Users can either buy a retail package with the upgrade key or they can upgrade online. Microsoft claims that that the upgrade process takes about 10 minutes and doesn't require the use of disks or upgrade media.

Windows Anytime Upgrade prices will be as follows, according to the Windows blog:

  • "Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium: $79.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional: $89.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate: $139.99"

Microsoft blogger Ed Bott of ZDNet provided a table showing other upgrade options not described in Microsoft's blog. For instance, he said it would be possible to upgrade from the Starter edition of Windows 7 to Ultimate for $165.

Bott noted that the most costly upgrade option under the program is the move from Windows 7 Professional to Ultimate. For those who bought Windows 7 Professional at the discounted $100 price, they still have to pay $130 more to get the Ultimate edition. He also suggested that Windows 7 users in the European Union and the United Kingdom will face "sticker shock" under the upgrade program.

Retailers likely will offer discounts on these prices as an incentive to boost upgrades, according to Bott.

Microsoft plans to offer the Windows 7 Family Pack and Windows Anytime Upgrade options on Oct. 22, which is when the general public will be able to buy Windows 7 in stores and online.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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