For a limited time, Microsoft will offer upgrades to Windows 8 Pro for a flat $40, as long as you're using Windows XP or later.
The promotion runs through January 31, 2013, and applies to purchases made through Windows.com. A packaged DVD upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will cost $70 during the promotion period.
“We set out to make it as easy as possible for everyone to upgrade to Windows 8,” Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a blog post. Users who upgrade can also add Windows Media Center for free, which should help pacify the outrage over Microsoft's decision to charge extra for the software.
- Windows 7 users can upgrade from any consumer edition and bring along their settings, personal files, and applications.
- Windows Vista users can bring along their settings and personal files, but not their applications.
- Windows XP users may only keep their personal files.
- All users have the option to perform a clean install.
If you buy a Windows 7 PC between now and the launch of Windows 8, you can upgrade for $15 but, at this point, it's best to wait for new hardware.
The low upgrade pricing for Windows 8, even for Windows XP users, is an unprecedented move for Microsoft. Windows 8 is a major overhaul, with a new Metro start screen and the Windows Store for Metro-style apps. Microsoft's future rides on the success of Windows 8, so it's no surprise that the company is using low pricing as a lure.
LeBlanc didn't say how much upgrades will cost after the promotion ends, and Microsoft still hasn't announced when Windows 8 will ship.
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