Microsoft has announced that it will ship Windows 7 to customers worldwide on October 22.

At the same time the company will offer an upgrade service called the Windows Upgrade Option to current Windows users, Microsoft said. More details about that programme will be revealed during a keynote by Microsoft Corporate Vice President Steve Guggenheimer at Computex in Taipei today.

Microsoft previously said it would release both the consumer and business versions of Windows 7 in time for the year-end holiday shopping season. A release candidate of the OS already has been distributed through Microsoft's update service and has received generally positive reviews by users.

Windows 7 is the follow-up to Windows Vista, which overall has been a disappointment for Microsoft and not very popular with business users or consumers.

Microsoft has said all versions of Windows 7 will run on PCs and laptops as well as increasingly popular netbooks, which currently are running either Windows XP or Linux because Vista's hardware footprint was too big to run reliably on them.

Windows 7 video guide

Windows 7 video guide