Microsoft is to offer UK users a ‘special', time-limited Windows 7 upgrade deal - put the new OS on three PCs for £150.

In a post on the Windows 7 blog, Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc said that the Windows 7 Family Pack, a version of the OS for households with multiple PCs, will be available in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden on 22 October when Windows 7 is made generally available worldwide.

The catch is that the number of copies will be limited. Microsoft previously said the software would only be available in the US and Canada.

The Family Pack allows users to install Windows 7 Home Premium for a reduced price on up to three PCs in a household that already has a version of Windows installed. Like the US offer, the European offer is for a limited time. The company did not assign the offer a deadline but said it is only while supplies last.

Microsoft is able to offer Windows 7 Family Pack in Europe because it reversed a decision to pull IE 8 out of the OS there. Instead, it will offer Windows 7 with IE pre-installed and a ballot-screen option so users can install a competitive browser, LeBlanc said. This allows Microsoft to have a version of Windows 7 that users in Europe can upgrade to in October, he said.

Microsoft changed its mind on 24 July about pulling IE 8 out of Windows 7 and said it would offer the ballot screen option that EU authorities proposed.

The availability of a full version of Windows 7 in Europe also means users there will have access to Windows 7 retail boxes in full and upgrade versions for pre-order starting 1 September and to buy on 22 October. However, Microsoft will continue to make Windows 7 N versions available in Europe. That version does not include Windows Media Player and is the result of another European anti-trust suit over the inclusion of that software in Windows.

Customers who have already pre-ordered the full version of Windows 7 E in the EU will now receive full versions of Windows 7 with IE8 included, the company said.

Microsoft also unveiled a limited-time discounted upgrade for Windows users in the UK People who purchase Windows 7 Home Premium between 1 September and 31 December can upgrade for £79.99 ($131) rather than the standard pricing of £99.99. The regular upgrade pricing will go back into effect 1 January.