Don't let Windows 8 upgrade offers lure you into buying a new PC

Don't let Windows 8 upgrade offers lure you into buying a new PC

Summary: Anyone who considers buying a PC on the basis on an upgrade coupon to the next release of Windows needs to see the offer for what it is, which is a lure to get you to spend money on technology that will be superseded in a few months.

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Microsoft and its partners are preparing to launch a Windows 8 upgrade offer for those buying Windows 7 PC in an attempt to boost sales in the months leading up to the release of the new operating system, according to Mary Jo Foley over on CNET.

Microsoft has traditionally used similar upgrade offers in the run up to the launch of a new operating system.

The offer speculated about is for the feature-rich Pro edition of Windows 8 and not the consumer-oriented Windows 8 edition. Given this, the upgrade offer is unlikely to be free and will carry some sort of fee.

It is likely that Microsoft or its partners will offer a free upgrade coupon to Windows 8 on selected systems.

But are these upgrade offers a good deal?

The answer to this question depends on the reason why you are buying the new PC in the first place. If you need a PC -- because your old one has died or for your child for school or college -- then a coupon that allows you to upgrade to the latest version of Windows -- either for a fee or for free -- is an added bonus. You can take it or leave it because it was an added bonus that came with a PC that you needed. You didn't buy the PC based on the offer.

But these offers aren't aimed at people who are buying a PC because they need one. What Microsoft is banking on is that the offer of an upgrade to Windows 8 will encourage people to buy a PC during the run up to the release of Windows 8 rather than wait it out for a new PC with Windows 8 pre-installed. This is good for both Microsoft and its partners because it prevents a precipitous fall in sales during the run up to the release of a new operating system.

So is it a good deal, or should you wait for a PC with Windows 8 pre-installed?

I think that anyone who considers buying a PC on the basis on an upgrade coupon to the next release of Windows -- or who is influenced by the presence of such an offer -- needs to see the offer for what it is, which is a lure to get you to spend money on technology that will be superseded in a few months. New operating systems always represent a big turning point when it comes to hardware, and given Windows 8's huge emphasis on touch and gesture control, this will be doubly so with this upcoming release.

Buying a PC in the last few months leading up to the release of a new operating system is, in my opinion, a bad idea. If you hold out a few extra months, not only will you get a system with Windows 8 pre-installed on it -- eliminating all the hassles of getting the new operating system installed -- but you will inevitably get better hardware for your money. Also, the system will be designed with Windows 8 in mind, and all the hardware and software drivers will have been figured for you by the OEMs. This is especially true for hardware such as ultrabooks, which are going to see a significantly revamp for Windows 8.

Also, while installing an operating system is usually a relatively painless process, installing it on a system that has data and applications on it has the scope to go wrong. Unless you have a method of backing up the system in some way before carrying out the upgrade, there's a chance of data loss, or even being left with a system that doesn't work.

My advice is simple. If you can avoid buying a PC in the months leading up to the release of Windows 8, then do so. While I've no doubt that the hardware you buy during that time will be able to run the new operating system, you're going to get a better experience, not to mention better hardware, if you wait.

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Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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81 comments
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  • This is true

    [i]Buying a PC in the last few months leading up to the release of a new operating system is, in my opinion, a bad idea.[/i]

    PC = Personal Computer, including Macs. It is a bad idea to buy any new computing device, be it Dell, Mac, iPad, Galaxy in the last few months leading up to the release of a new OS / device.

    Considering Mountain Lion is just a few months away, I'm a little surprised that you would choose to focus only on Windows 8 (actually I'm not surprised but I'm being kind).

    Listen to AKH folks, don't buy a Mac until after Mountain Lion is released.
    toddbottom3
    • Why would you?

      They aren't even offering coupons or other shiny leaders in the hope you will camp outside an Apple store until whenever they release their new beasties. Mind you, you're pretty much a Microsoft only person, so I hardly see you doing that unless you get yourself a little more confused. Now be off with you and go post positive supportive things about Microsoft on Bott's blogs.
      ego.sum.stig
      • As worthless as tits on a bull.

        What insightful and enlightening comments. And while your mental capacity far exceeds my own and the others, let me try to distil the knowledge you have graced us with today so we all understand the depth of your intelligence:

        "I like Apple better than Microsoft."

        There. I don't think I missed anything. By the way, when are you going to release the next Apple operating system? You are The Creator, right? Since you seem to take it so personally.

        Or are you just another pinhead kid that badgered his parents until they bought him that expensive toy you couldn't live without?

        That's what I thought.
        pishaw
      • toddytroll sock puppet can't do better?

        lol... Look who's talking...

        [i]There. I don't think I missed anything. By the way, when are you going to release the next Apple operating system? You are The Creator, right? Since you seem to take it so personally.[/i]

        Really? Don't-cha think your juvenile little retort was a classic case taking it so personally?

        Really toddytroll, you shouldn't make your sock puppets more hypocritical than you are. It kinda spoils the fun. ;)
        ScorpioBlack
      • ego: Funny

        [i]They aren't even offering coupons[/i]

        bing: lion up to date

        Oops.
        toddbottom3
    • That's why I tell people who want to buy the iPhone 4S

      just hold off another 6 month(?) as rumor has it the iPhone 5 will be released right around the holidays, or early Feb 2013, as another rumor has it.
      William Farrel
      • Also, unable to install next iOS on iPhone 4S

        [i]rumor has it the iPhone 5 will be released right around the holidays[/i]

        The other rumor I've heard is that you won't be able to install iOS 6 on current iPhones. I'm pretty sure that's true because Apple hasn't publicly stated that iOS 6 can be installed on current iPhones.
        toddbottom3
    • There is no bad idea about buying a PC to a new OS lead up.

      Here is the proper foundation for making your decision on if you should purchase a PC (of any kind, Macs included). Right fro AKH's article:

      "The answer to this question depends on the reason why you are buying the new PC in the first place. If you need a PC ??? because your old one has died or for your child for school or college ??? then a coupon that allows you to upgrade to the latest version of Windows ??? either for a fee or for free ??? is an added bonus. You can take it or leave it because it was an added bonus that came with a PC that you needed"

      Exactly. If you don't need a new PC for a few months, don't by a PC for a few months. Its not like you are going to get 'cheated' out of the new OS.

      But AKH does make some rather tenuous points beyond this that really aren't worth a lot in the equation, at least in the Windows 8 equation.

      "Buying a PC in the last few months leading up to the release of a new operating system is, in my opinion, a bad idea. If you hold out a few extra months, not only will you get a system with Windows 8 pre-installed on it ??? eliminating all the hassles of getting the new operating system installed ??? but you will inevitably get better hardware for your money"

      Pretty much true, but pointless if you are genuinely following his sage earlier advise that says you should only be buying when you need to. Just about the only reason that rule should be broken is when you may not need the PC immediately, you will need it fairly soon and a phenomenal price break is available. The longer the time from when you really need it is a huge impact though because as time quickly passes, current hardware quickly becomes cheaper anyway, by default and it will not be long before you will have access to even better hardware at the same price breaking deal.

      With high tech equipment, computers in particular, its hard to beat rule number one.

      Adrian also says:
      "New operating systems always represent a big turning point when it comes to hardware, and given Windows 8???s huge emphasis on touch and gesture control, this will be doubly so with this upcoming release"

      In the vast majority of cases, I'm not so sure this is going to be necessarily so. As for hardware performance, it appears from early tests I've seen that any hardware running Windows 7 and most certainly Vista, will be competent to run Windows 8 as well, maybe even better in some cases. And if your talking about Windows 8 on a desktop, there is not likely to be much to worry about, its just going to be mostly a case of adapting to the new UI personally, and thats not going to change for the better with Windows 8 preinstalled on a new computer. If you are going to be using touch, it may be more of an issue as far as setup goes.

      But this is right where I think Adrian gets it dead wrong, he pretty much proves it in his own statement:
      "But these offers aren???t aimed at people who are buying a PC because they need one"

      I think when he reconsiders, even he is likely to admit he misspoke on this after considering this was his follow-up reasoning:
      "What Microsoft is banking on is that the offer of an upgrade to Windows 8 will encourage people to buy a PC during the run up to the release of Windows 8 rather than wait it out for a new PC with Windows 8 pre-installed. This is good for both Microsoft and its partners because it prevents a precipitous fall in sales during the run up to the release of a new operating system."

      Focus on this part:
      "will encourage people to buy a PC during the run up to the release of Windows 8 rather than wait it out for a new PC with Windows 8 pre-installed"

      Of course its designed to encourage those who need or want a PC RIGHT NOW not to wait just because they don't want to miss out on the new OS.

      Ha! Seriously, think about this, the drop off in sales that MS and OEM's are trying to prevent are sales they would have been making ....well, right now when they are making the offer to prevent those sales losses. The logic is obvious and straightforward. No tricks here.

      Its a great idea for all concerned. There are two possibilities:
      1. A bunch of people want a computer right now, a lot of them do without for awhile, bad for them, sales drop off, bad for MS and OEM's and a few get there computer right now and miss out on the newest OS, again, bad for them. Bad for all.

      2. MS offers the OS upgrade to current purchasers and nobody has to hold off, and all can get the new OS and MS and thee OEM's don't see weird sales drops. Much better for all.
      Cayble
    • Why pay $1000 for a Macintosh when you will be able to buy a Windows 8 ...

      ... computer for half that? Or, put Windows 8 on your existing Intel hardware for $130?
      M Wagner
  • So, AKH ... are you saying that

    MS (and those users who have installed Windows 8 thus far) are lying? That the 'if it runs Win7, it will run Win 8 ... ' is a lie?

    Strikes me that most folks wouldn't be inclined to buy a new non-touch machine, just because it carries an upgrade offer, if they were looking for a touch machine with Win 8. Do you truly believe people reading here (remember your audience) are that stupid?
    whatagenda
  • Agree in general

    Indeed the combination of:

    - IVY bridge
    - Windows 8
    - ultrabook chassis
    - INTEL SRT
    - INTEL 4000 graphics

    ... are likely to make 2012 a very interesting year. Comparing the old DELL VOSTRO 460 desktop with the new 470 (UK model numbers) shows how much things are due to change.

    Even more so for laptops and tablets.

    HOWEVER if you don't need bleeding-edge gear then the best deals on kit are just as the channel flushes out the previous generation. If I could get a DELL 460 with ??100 off then why not? I've got money in hand for an SSD or graphics card upgrade ... and I get a copy of Win7 and Win8!

    This is one of the advantages of a PC over a MAC ... Robin Harris is already lamenting his new iMAC after a year and has limited upgrade capability. PC users can upgrade more easily as technology advances. Best example is a machine for Photoshop CS6 which now uses the GPU for many operations: upgrade the app and graphics card and you have a whole new ball game.

    One thing that's far from clear ... how are M$ and OEM's going to handle secure boot and UEFI through the transition?
    jacksonjohn
  • Adrian, you don't make any sense...

    You call a Windows 8 coupon [i]a lure to get you to spend money on technology that will be superseded in a few months.[/i]

    Hello?!

    Been in the business long?

    EVERYTHING is superceded in a few months time!
    Joe_Raby
    • Ya, it dosnt figure much if...

      ..if your following the basic simple rule of buy a PC when you need to buy a PC, or at least REALLY want a new one. The bottom line is, if you need one, you need it. Of course hardware improves with time, just putting off a needed purchase isnt a good solution for most.

      The real solution for the endless "dog chasing its tail" problem of putting off a PC purchase to get newer hardware is only best addressed by waiting untill its really time to get one, then doing some serious price comparison shopping to ensure your getting the best hardware for the cash you are spending. You cant really do a whole lot more.
      Cayble
    • In Adrian's example ...

      ... he is considering the buyer who wants Windows 8 for for it's new features. Those folks need to wait until the new hardware ships with it. Those folks also need to realize that they will pay a premium for those new hardware features - at least until after the holidays. If you want/need a PC now, the coupon is an "empty gesture".

      Unless your PC is on it's last legs, buying Windows 8 (even at retail prices) will cost you at lot less money than buying new hardware with a coupon. Windows 8 even runs nicely with as little as 1GB of RAM and an Atom processor.
      M Wagner
  • Don't let Windows 8 upgrade offers lure you into buying a new PC

    And why not? If someone needs a new PC why not buy it now so they can use it and then use the upgrade for Microsoft Windows 8.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Because AKH

      Wouldn't have this click bait article to write
      hopp64
    • That's just it though

      You shouldn't buy a new PC unless you need one, regardless of whether there is a promotion of a free OS upgrade. But if you do need one, then by all means take advantage of Microsoft's generosity.
      Michael Kelly
    • Good point

      Just use an abacus and drawing paper in place of your PC until the Windows 8 one comes out.
      William Farrel
    • Um, that's what he said.

      "If you need a PC ??? because your old one has died or for your child for school or college ??? then a coupon that allows you to upgrade to the latest version of Windows ??? either for a fee or for free ??? is an added bonus. You can take it or leave it because it was an added bonus that came with a PC that you needed. You didn???t buy the PC based on the offer."
      msalzberg
      • I love it when I'm downrated...

        ...for merely posting a quote.
        msalzberg