Adding to the complexity here is that all retail versions of Windows 7, except for Windows 7 Starter, are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit (x64) versions. Windows 7 Starter will not be made available as a retail product but will instead be sold with new PCs only.

Pricing in countries other than the United States will vary, but should adhere to the relative positioning shown in Table 1-13.

If you're buying a retail copy of Windows 7 and you already own a qualifying previous version of Windows, such as XP, don't buy a full version of Windows 7.

Secret Instead, find out what Microsoft's current requirements are to qualify for an

V upgrade version, which is much cheaper. To successfully load an upgrade version, you usually must be installing onto a machine that has the old version installed, or you must have the old version on a CD (which you insert briefly during the installation of the new OS as proof). Microsoft can change these requirements at any time, so confirm this before whipping out your plastic.

Users with multiple PCs who are interested in Windows 7 Home Premium might also consider the specially priced Windows 7 Family Pack. Available for $149.99 in the United States --though prices could vary wildly at retail—the Family Pack provides three Windows 7 Home Premium product keys, allowing you to install the OS on, yup, you guessed it, three different PCs, and at bargain pricing.

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