Well, Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system has finally enjoyed its full retail release - and indications are that it's the most popular version of Windows yet.

According to figures quoted by Electronista, online retailer Amazon's UK arm has seen pre-orders - which started in July and ended on yesterday, just before the official day of release - climb so high in the pre-sales ranking charts that they successfully beat even the final Harry Potter book.

Indeed, the OS has been so popular with the pre-order crowd that the only thing on the site which has sold anywhere near the same quantity is Dan Brown's latest potboiler Lost Symbol - fairly impressive when you consider that Amazon's prime competency is book sales, not software.

So far, Windows 7 has already performed far better than its damp squib of a predecessor Windows Vista, selling more in the first eight hours of pre-orders than Vista did in its entire pre-order availability - a sure sign that consumers are skipping straight from Windows XP to Windows 7, something that was last seen when Microsoft launched the vastly unpopular Windows ME operating system.

The highly successful pre-order run comes despite Microsoft offering people the chance to get their hands on the top-end Windows 7 Ultimate Edition for free by hosting a launch party - providing they don't mind risking social suicide.

So far most peoples' impressions of Windows 7 are largely positive, and the inclusion of a virtualised Windows XP environment for software and hardware that just doesn't play well with the new OS, will reassure business customers that this isn't another Vista - although it's only available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. This could well be the operating system that finally spells the end for ever-popular, but now eight year old Windows XP.

Were you one of the masses who pre-ordered Windows 7, or are you failing to see what the fuss is all about? Have you already got your sticky mitts on your copy? Perhaps you'll be hosting a launch party later today for your free Ultimate Edition - in which case we want pictures! Share your thoughts and experiences over in the forums.
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