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Microsoft axes Family Pack in Europe, reveals upgrade prices

Microsoft has quietly axed Windows 7 Family Pack for European users as it reveals Windows Anytime Upgrade prices

It's Friday, it's twenty past five, and most journalists have slouched off to the pub. In the absence of a minor royal kicking the bucket, there's no better time to try and bury a story. Entirely coincidentally we're sure, a press release has just arrived from Microsoft about Windows 7 upgrade pricing, which reveals that the Family Pack won't be available here in Blighty.

Microsoft announced Family Pack just nine days ago. It's basically a bundle that allows you to install the Home Premium edition on three separate computers. Microsoft says the problem is Family Pack is an upgrade to the global release and will cause problems with Windows 7 E, the browserless version available in Europe. Microsoft promises it's "working on the best solutions for its UK consumers" and will keep us posted.

If you're not a family and only want Windows 7 on the one computer, you will have the option to upgrade from one version to another with Windows Anytime Upgrade. Moving from Vista or XP to the big 7 requires a clean install, wiping your files, but if you already have 7 -- say you've bought a new PC -- and want to upgrade to a better-featured version, WAU allows you to do this with no loss of data.

You have to pay through the nose for the privilege, of course. Upgrading from Starter to Home Premium is £70, to Professional £120, and to Ultimate £140. From Home Premium to Professional also costs £120, and to Ultimate £125. Hiking from Professional to Ultimate will cost you £85. Now if you'll excuse us, we have to get down the pub -- we have some catching up to do.