Microsoft is trying to lure Canadians to upgrade to its newest operating system by offering a half-price discount to people who pre-order.

Windows 7 won't be released until Oct. 22, but Microsoft is taking pre-orders starting Friday, the company said in a news release Thursday.

Until July 11, people running Windows XP or Vista can pre-order upgrades to the home version of Windows 7 at $64.99 instead of $129.95 and the professional version for $124.99 instead of $279.95 "while quantities last."

Similar offers are being made in the U.S., Japan, the U.K., France and Germany. For those who don't currently have Windows XP or Vista, the home version will cost $224.95 and the professional version will cost $329.95.

The company said it would also provide free upgrades for people who buy computers loaded with the current Microsoft operating system, Windows Vista, until Jan. 2010.

It had a similar program in place when Vista was released in January 2007, after numerous delays.

However, some computer vendors, such as Dell, began giving users the option of choosing Windows XP instead of Vista after complaints about Vista's speed, security alerts and lack of compatibility with some devices such as printers. Microsoft slashed the price of the boxed version of Vista in 2008 in an effort to boost sales.

The company has now renewed its effort to get people to switch from XP, promising that Windows 7 will have fewer security alerts and better device compatibility than Vista, and an XP mode to entice business users who didn't make the switch to its current Vista operating system.