Announced on Microsoft’s official Blogging Windows blog earlier today, the software company plans to run a special pricing promotion when Windows 8 launches to the public later this year. According to Windows communication manager Brandon LeBlanc, any consumer currently using a copy of Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 will be able to purchase an upgrade copy of Windows 8 Pro for a price of $39.99. By comparison, the current rate for an upgrade to Windows 7 Professional costs $199.99 on the Microsoft Store and runs about $160 on retailers like Amazon. This $39.99 price for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade even trumps the current student rate of $64.95 for Windows 7 Professional on the Microsoft Store.
One caveat to the discounted rate is that the $39.99 rate is for a digital copy only. If a Windows user would prefer to get a physical copy on DVD, they can purchase the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro on DVD at a local store for a price of $69.99. However, anyone with a DVD burner could simply burn the digital copy on disc to accomplish the same feat.
According to LeBlanc, this upgrade can be purchased on Windows.com later this year after the Windows user runs through the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. The software looks for compatibility issues with both the hardware and the software during the upgrade process. The Windows user can choose to keep all Windows settings and applications or choose to just keep personal files.
In addition, Microsoft will offer an option that allows users to create a clean install of the software instead of upgrading the current version of Windows. The drive can be formatted during the upgrade process in order to start fresh with the new operating system. After the Windows user selects those options, Microsoft initiates the download process and allows the user to continue using the PC until the download is complete.
Once the download finishes, the user has the option of starting the upgrade immediately or creating a link on the desktop that will initiate the upgrade process at a later time. The Windows user can also create a bootable USB drive or save an ISO image to burn to a blank DVD for a backup. For anyone interested in using a USB drive, the drive needs to have a minimum of 3GB free.
The download will be available in 37 different languages in over 100 countries when Windows 8 is released later this year. According to a recent report from The Verge, Microsoft is already compiling the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build and could be providing the software to computer manufacturers by the end of July 2012. In addition, Microsoft is targeting a release date of the operating system during the middle of October 2012. When the Windows 8 is released, consumers will be able to purchase the upgrade at the promotional $39.99 price until January 31, 2013. LeBlanc also indicated that two full versions of Windows 8 will be available to consumers that build their own computers, but did not specify price at this time. The current rate for an OEM copy of Windows 7 Professional runs about $140 at a retailer like Newegg.