Windows 7 Family Pack discounts return

Last year, in the run-up to the launch of Windows 7, Microsoft rewarded early adopters with a series of discounted upgrade offers. And then, as quickly as they appeared, those deals vanished. But if you're willing to wait a month or so, one of the best of those deals is about to make a triumphant return. Want to save 58% over a single upgrade license? Keep reading.

Last year, in the run-up to the launch of Windows 7, Microsoft rewarded early adopters with a series of discounted upgrade offers. And then, as quickly as they appeared, those deals vanished.

But if you're willing to wait a month or so, one of the best of those deals is about to make a triumphant return. Beginning October 3 in the U.S., you'll once again be able to buy the Windows 7 Family Pack, which gives you three upgrade licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium for an estimated retail price of $149.99. (Typically, online retailers discount that price by 10 bucks or so.)

If you can use all three licenses at an average cost of $50 each, this deal represents a savings of 58% off the best available retail price of roughly $120 for a single upgrade license. As I noted last year when this deal first appeared:

If you have two or more PCs in your home and you want to upgrade them to Windows 7, this deal is for you. […] It includes two DVDs: one copy each of the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade installation media. You get a single product key that can be activated on up to three different PCs.

[...]

The license says you can install Family Pack upgrades on up to three PCs in the same household, for use by residents of that household. When I asked Microsoft whether it was OK to use this license in a home business, I was told, officially, “There is no restriction around use of a license for business purposes conducted within the home,” although naturally they recommended Windows 7 Professional for those situations.

Nothing in the license prevents you from mixing and matching the 32-bit and 64-bit versions on up to three PCs in your household. But no, you can’t share licenses with your neighbor or your cousin in Peoria.

According to Microsoft, the discounted three-pack will also be available in Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, Australia, and possibly other markets, with most on-sale dates timed to the one-year anniversary of Windows 7's launch on October 22.

Microsoft warns that the return of the Family Pack is a limited-time offer and will end when supplies run out. Last year, that took about six weeks.

Don't say I didn’t warn you.

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