Microsoft Windows 7 - the software giant's latest desktop and laptop PC operating system - is available for pre-sale order tonight. A limited number of Windows 7 licences will be available on a first come first serve bases at a special cut-price rate.
From selected retailers Windows users can purchase licences for just £49.99 for Home Premium, and £99.99 for Windows 7 Professional. This represents a large saving on the SRP for Windows 7: according to Microsoft, Windows 7 Home Premium Edition should cost £149, while the Professional version will be £219 and the Ultimate Edition £229.
To pre-order a discounted copy of Windows 7 simply contact Microsoft's retail partners after 12:01am tomorrow morning, 15 July, or go to www.microsoft.com/uk/win7preorder.
UK vendors taking part in the promotion are Amazon.co.uk, Argos, Comet, Currys, Dixons, Ebuyer.com, John Lewis Partnership, Littlewoods, Micro Anvika, PC World, Play.com, Staples and Tesco. The Windows 7 pre-order pages of selected vendors are below:
Even at full price, the Home Edition of Windows 7 is £20 cheaper than the equivalent version of Windows Vista. The Professional and Ultimate versions cost the same as their Vista equivalents.
But although Microsoft has avoided devaluing the Windows brand with its official pricing, there are bargains to be had. When announcing the price of Windows 7 in June, Microsoft said it would offer EU customers Windows 7 Home Premium for only £79 if bought between the launch date of 22 October and the end of the year.