Microsoft is offering three new methods for people to buy, upgrade, or licence multiple copies of Windows Vista, in part because of the widespread use of broadband which makes it possible to download large files quickly.

The first method is called Windows Anytime Upgrade, and is an option in the Vista Start menu so that people can upgrade to a higher-grade edition of the software. To upgrade to Vista Ultimate, users click on Windows Anytime Upgrade, gets a digital key after paying for it online, and then receives instructions in order to download the upgrade.

Pricing is tiered: Home Basic to Home Premium will cost $79; Home Basic to Ultimate, $200; Home Premium to Ultimate, $160; and Business to Ultimate, $139.

Microsoft is also making Vista and Office 2007 available for direct download via Windows Marketplace starting on 30 January.

And finally, Microsoft is encouraging people to license up to two copies of Vista Home Premium for use on various PCs in the home, for $50 each. This will be an option only for those purchasing Vista Ultimate.