Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Windows 8 upgrade price shows Microsoft is serious: $39.99 upgrades from XP, Vista, 7

An update to the highest tier of a new Windows version for only $39.99? And from as far back as Windows XP? We must be dreaming, but no, Microsoft says it is so.

That Windows 8 Pro update will be available on Windows.com once the OS ships. It will be a mere $39.99 in 131 markets, and if you want, you can add Windows Media Center for free through the “add features” option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade.

That's pretty nice as many were griping about the stripping out of Windows Media Center when Microsoft announced it earlier, but we're going to ask: it you're just going to add it back in for free, why take it out in the first place?

Once purchased, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant makes upgrading simple by walking you through the upgrade process step-by-step from purchase to download and installation. It will give you a detailed compatibility report that informs you of anything you may need to address before or even after the upgrade.

In addition, it will assist you in keeping any settings or data from your current Windows installation. Sorry Windows XP users, you are gifted with the same price as more modern installs of Windows, but only personal files will transfer from your setup.

Windows Vista users will be able to migrate their settings AND personal files. Windows 7 users get the maximum, meaning everything including your Windows settings, personal files and apps, although problematic apps will be highlighted.

In addition, those consumers who want to do a "clean" install, starting from scratch, will be able to do so as long as they boot from some sort of media and then format the hard drive from within setup, not prior to it. While this is our preferred method of installation, it generally means you may need to scrounge around for drivers, and you should do before, not after the install (as you may need to find drivers for your network adapter).

If you still have an optical drive, a packaged DVD version of the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will be available for $69.99 during this promotion (which lasts from the date that Windows 8 ships until January 31, 2013).

[Indeed, that $30 "bonus payment to buy a DVD version is a reminder that we've reached the point we're optical drives are beginning to be passe.]

Even the DVD price is significantly lower than Microsoft usually charges for an upgrade.  With this pricing, Microsoft is showing that it is "serious" about Windows 8, which merges the experience between desktop and mobile for the first time.

Consumers who buy Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013 are eligible for a different program that gives them a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for only $14.99.

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