Connecting for Health (CfH), the NHS national IT upgrade programme, has renewed its custom licence agreement with Microsoft covering the provision of desktop services over the next three years.
The agreement provides Microsoft desktop software and antivirus technology to 850,000 NHS computer users, as well as upgrades to the Windows Vista operating system.
The renewal is the first of the three-year "breakpoints" in a nine-year licence agreement signed in 2004, designed to allow the NHS to regularly reassess its technology needs.
An NHS spokesman said: "This new arrangement will deliver added benefits for all NHS employees with access to the latest Microsoft software."
The spokesman added: "The net result will enable better productivity and improved patient safety throughout the NHS, ultimately benefiting patients by augmenting quality of service and care currently offered by NHS organisations."
NHS staff can make use of Microsoft's Home User programme through the agreement, which allows them to use Microsoft Office applications on their home computers.
The agreement also means the NHS and Microsoft continue working together on a tailored version of the Windows OS for the health service, the Common User Interface.
CfH has also agreed with comms provider Cable & Wireless to refresh its internal email and directory service, NHSmail, by moving it onto a Microsoft Exchange 2007 server platform.