Despite arriving a few days early in the UK due to fears over a nationwide postal strike the official launch of Windows 7 was Thursday October 22, 2009.

Microsoft drew amusement for its idea of regular people hosting Windows 7 launch parties in their homes, but it appears that there were some real celebrations going on all around the world.

Windows 7 launch New Zealand
First to have fun at Microsoft's expense (in the nicest possible way) was New Zealand. Hundreds of umbrellas were raised to create the moment Windows 7 was available in Auckland.

Windows 7 launch Australia
A sign outside a Harvey Norman store in Sydney, Australia advertises an all-night event to mark worldwide retail availability of Windows 7.

Windows 7 launch Australia 2
Australians must love Windows 7. They had to call in security at the Harvey Norman store in Syndey, Australia during its "Midnight Madness" event selling some of the first retail copies of Windows 7 in the world.

Windows 7 launch Japan
Completely at ease. Steven Sinofsky, president, Windows & Windows Live Division, with a ceremonial sake barrel at the Windows 7 launch with OEM partners and customers in Japan.

Windows 7 launch London
Shoppers lined up to purchase Windows 7 in London at midnight. No umbrellas here, Kiwis! Pre-orders for the new operating system on Amazon UK surpassed pre-orders for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm sure the Potter fans looked a lot happier, though. (They didn't have to queue up outside a PC World store, getting ribbed by Mac fans on way home from the Apple Store.)

Windows 7 launch New York
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at the Windows 7 launch in New York City.

Windows 7 launch Chris Liddell
Hands up if you hope Windows 7 doesn't tank like Vista... Windows 7 engineers and Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell open the NASDAQ from the Microsoft campus to celebrate the launch of Windows 7.

Windows 7 launch Chris Liddell Nasdaq
No, really! Hands up if you don't want Windows 7 to tank like Vista! Liddell rings the opening NASDAQ bell with engineers and other employees on Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington.

Windows 7 launch Chris Liddell Nasdaq 2
The Jumbotron in Times Square showing the NASDAQ opening from the Microsoft main campus with Liddell. Again.

Windows 7 launch Arizona

Waiting for Microsoft's new store in Scottsdale, Arizona. Now banned from all Apple Stores.

If you have any pictures from your own Windows 7 party, we'd be delighted to see them.