Microsoft confirms Windows 8 testers to get $40 upgrade price, too

Microsoft confirms Windows 8 testers to get $40 upgrade price, too

Summary: Those running Microsoft's Windows 8 Release Preview also will be permitted to move to Windows 8 Pro when it's available for the newly announced upgrade price.


Earlier this week, I blogged about Microsoft's $40 ($39.99, to be precise) upgrade offer, meant to entice those running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 to upgrade to Windows 8 Professional once it is available.

Microsoft's original post on the topic never spelled out explicitly whether one additional group -- those testing Windows 8 -- would also be offered the same price for Windows 8 Pro.

The answer is yes. Computerworld noted on page 3 of its own frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on the upgrade offer that Microsoft officials said testers would be able to get the $40 price through once Windows 8 is generally available .

win8releasepreviewI asked for confirmation to be doubly sure. The spokesperson said:

"Computerworld got it right. Assuming the customer had a previous version of Windows installed before Release Preview, they’ll be able to upgrade from the Release Preview. They won’t need to reinstall the previous version to do the upgrade; they can just upgrade on top of the Release Preview."

Computerworld also noted that when and if Windows 8 Release Preview testers upgrade, they won't be able to preserve their system settings or applications; only personal files will be moved automatically to Windows 8. This is more like a "migration" than an update, and sounds a lot like what will happen to Windows XP users who opt to move to Windows 8.

Again, Microsoft has confirmed this information, as well. After posting details about the deal on July 2, Windows Communication Manager Brandon Leblanc added an update about the ability of Windows 8 testers to upgrade. He said (in the comments of the post:

"(P)eople can move from the Windows 8 Release Preview to Windows 8 Pro using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and will only have the options to migrate their personal files or keep nothing at all when upgrading. People moving from the Windows 8 Release Preview will need to make sure you have an underlying license for either Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7."

Microsoft officials still have not made public the price for new copies of Windows 8; this $40 is only pricing for the update version. Microsoft officials also have not stated exactly when Windows 8 will be declared as gold/RTM (something that could happen as soon as this month) or when Windows 8 will be generally available -- something rumored to be happening in October 2012.

One last thing to remember: This $40 upgrade price is currently positioned as a promotional price. The offer will be good from whenever Windows 8 is generally available until January 31, 2013. Microsoft may or may not extend the end date.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Ok.. that blows away Apple's upgrade...

    Yes, it's more expensive by $10, but everyone gets it regardless of whose hardware it's on.

    Microsoft must really really want everyone on Win 8...
    The Werewolf!
    • Microsoft is scared.

      Really, really scared. And they should be.
      • As evidenced by all the futile lawsuits over worthless design patents

        I'd say it is Apple who is petrified.

        If you can't compete, litigate!

        But one thing is clear, the trend established here is about to get much more complete.

        Windows XP: 40%
        Windows 7 : 39%
        Other: 7%
        Windows Vista: 6%
        iPad: 3%
        Mac OS X 10.7: 3%
        Mac OS X 10.6: 2%
        iPhone: 2%

        If the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If the law is on your side, pound the law. If neither is on your side, pound the table.
        {Old lawyer saying}
        • Good humor and a true WinTard you are.

          When I'm in the apple store, spending $70 for a mouse that takes an owners manual to operate, I think of over 300,000,000 licenses sold and where that really puts things in perspective.

          I just seamlessly upgraded from Lion (10.7.9) to Mountain Lion (10.8) and I love my working UNIX desktop, which is really what my Mac is. It's OpenDarwin on top of a BSD Kernel. My Sony PS3 is really the home entertainment boss as it delivers DTS soundtracks to my receiver through a SPDIF cable.

          I write video game components, all of that is done on my Lenovo laptop (An AMD E3 Vision), so what does my mac really, browsing, PureBASIC experiments and a copy of Postal 2 that I found on the site. Okay, it does good porn streaming as well.

          Truthfully it's just a nice user experience. I know my Mac Mini is just a laptop stuffed into an odd shaped case. The Superdrive I bought for it matches well, but is certainly not super in terms of performance. When it dies, well, next time I'll spend the equivalent amount on a Windows desktop (cist me $1000+ when I was done with it all, I bought the faster Core i5 with the AMD Radeon chip).

          Mountain Lion (10.8) is really more serious about security so hopefully that means apple will be updating weekly as holes in security are made known. OSX is great at memory management, energy management and all that happy stuff, but Windows still brings home the bacon ( well, figuratively ).

          What does this have to do with Windows 8?

          Well I had two trial versions on an HP laptop, found them both good and I anxiously look forward to them on my next Laptop and probably desktop. Heck, I'll keep the Mac for a while, maybe even buy another, it does a great job with Blender and Unity 3D. Every time I sit down with my colleagues, all of us game code monkeys, we all whip out our W7 laptops as we have the correct version of Direct X and all the DLL's and development kits in place.

          Here's the real rub. PS4 CPU architecture is probably going to change, Xbox 720 architecture may change as well. But my good old X86_64 Windows machine will always be good for gaming. I have an Xbox 360 control pad for it already.

          We develop on Windows machines and cross compile. Man that new PS4 looks nice, but I think I'll wait until it drops below the rumored $1000. I'm a sucker, at $500 I'd snap it up in a heartbeat. Getting back to it, I'm scared because of some changes in W8 API's and tools may cause me some heartburn.
    • Why?

      After you pay your cash you get windows;-)
      Richard Flude
  • What happens when you reformat?

    Mary Jo- any word as to if I can use the disc to do a full install if I reformat my drive/replace my drive?

    I would rather not have to install XP and do the upgrade to 8 when I upgrade my system eventually AFTER launch.
    • Yes

      You can do a clean install if you want.
      • you can use it to do a clean install.

        You can but its more of a pain. I had to call tech support to get my copy activated. You can no longer use an upgrade version to do a clean install and still be able to activate the copy. They had to remote desktop with my pc to activate it for me.
        Matthew Webster
    • Check the comments in the MS blog post

      Brandon LeBlanc from MS says in the comments "You can format your hard drive as part of the upgrade experience."

      Mary Jo Foley
      • Not quite the same thing

        Formatting as part of the upgrade process may not be the same thing as formatting your drive (starting completely clean) and then doing an install. As part of the upgrade process, the install software could already have verified your earlier MS-Windows installation.
        Or will they allow the install after you provide the original system install disk? (If you even have it or can find it.) After all, if you format and have a completely clean system, how would that be different from upgrading a completely new (and virgin) system?
  • Will this be valid for OEM Windows 7 licenses too?

    I installed Win8 release preview over a Windows 7 home premium oem license laptop, I formatted my hard drive partition. I just hope I'll be able to upgrade to Windows 8 professional for $40 this would be great news!
    Gabriel Hernandez
    • Yes

      That also works.
    • Seems like you should be covered, too

      See comment above. If you want to be triply sure, try asking in the comments on the original MS post:

      Mary Jo Foley
  • Gartner, Wall Street -- what does incredibly low upgrade pricing mean?

    This is nice of Microsoft (thank you) but the real story about the $40 upgrade pricing is how eager Microsoft is to forego billions in potential revenue in the short term in order to "seed" the market with as many Win8 machines as quickly as possible. The app and cloud ecosystem depends on it, and Windows is changing from being the primary product to being a cloud facilitator.

    It also shows that Microsoft knows that Win8 is not going to be popular on existing non-touch computers: if they expected upgrades to sell reasonably well, there would be no reason to sell the upgrade at such an incredibly low price. I think they had to announce the deal now, too, because if they waited a month after general availability to announce the deal, then the technorati would interpret it as a response to lackluster upgrade sales (so better to announce it now in anticipation of the same and maybe get a boost). I'm sure Wall Street and Gartner are crunching the numbers right now...

    MJF, will Microsoft also slash the licensing costs to OEMs producing WinRT tablets too for the same reason?
    • While that may be true...

      I believe this would be a great way to seed the community with Win 8. Those who are on XP have a way to jump over Vista without wiping their disk and starting over, and at a reasonable cost (for a welcome change!)

      Businesses should make plans now on how to get their organization in on this special deal.

      No, I don't work for MS, and no, I don't find Win 8 very intuitive, and no I don't like the new Metro interface. It's clunky, it has little new to offer, and non-touch users on laptops/desktops are not going to see any performance improvements. (For the record, Solitaire absolutely sucks on the Preview, as mynon-touch 4GB desktop has MASSIVE I/O delays through the mouse, while other regular PC apps have no delays whatsoever.)

      However, I do know that most businesses are wedded to the Microsoft Suite and Windows OS, therefore, a business moving ahead to leapfrog from XP will get a distinct financial advantage by following up on this offer, as they don't have anything else to look forward to except EOL on XP Security support....
      • Jump over Vista to...Windows 7

        XP end of life will make businesses jump over Vista all right, but they'll virtually all go to Windows 7 on non-touch computers. Even with this attractive pricing, it will still be cheaper for businesses to go to Windows 7 and avoid the user complaints and re-training required for Windows 8. Microsoft would literally have to reduce the Win8 upgrade price to zero and throw in MDOP as a kicker to make it cost-effective. (On touch tablets Win8 sales should be fine, I'm only talking here about the 99.9% of non-touch existing machines out there.)
        • agreed!

          Businesses will NOT be upgrading (if you can seriously call it an "upgrade" and keep a strait face doing it) to Windows 8. This new touch screen tablet oriented OS is for tablets only - period. It's nearly unusable on a desktop or laptop.

          If people didn't like Vista (which IMHO, being so very, very similar to Windows 7 was actually a rather decent operating system), then they are going to absolutely despise Windows 8, which plays "Hide the icon" in a way never seen before in Microsoft operating system.

          It's my prediction Windows 8 will be a complete and utter failure on non-touch screen computer systems. And businesses will not touch it with a ten foot pole.
          • Unusable?

            I'm using it right now on my computer. I'm cruising right along. It's far from unusable. I've got the desktop mode for things that require the desktop to be done. You still have the start screen. However, instead of it displaying just links to the apps, it also displays current information from the apps/programs themselves.

            So if I want to quickly check the weather, I just hit the windows key, look at my weather app icon, hit the windows key again and get back to work.

            You can move between apps really quickly! windows-tab and alt-tab still work. Or move your mouse to the upper left or lower left corner and move down/up respectively.

            Need to access more settings, or search, clock, devices, sharing options? Press windows-c, or go to the upper right or lower right corner and drag down/up.

            Need to quickly find a program? It's the same as in windows. Press the windows key, or click in the lower left corner (same place as the start menu), and then start typing.
          • Very usable!

            I happen to agree with spartanstu2011. I've been using Win8 on my laptop (using it right now, actually). It is an older laptop that was running Win7, but with difficulty. Windows8 flies!! The Release Preview still needs some rounding out on the Metro side, but the desktop works fine. Running all of my apps on it.

            It does take some getting used to, but after a bit of poking around, I find Metro to be a very nice interface. Note that I've had Metro on my phone for over a year now, so I was familiar with the concept.
            David P Brown
    • This is where you're wrong

      The great majority of Windows licenses are sold preinstalled. Very few people actually upgrade from an older version of Windows without also buying an entirely new computer. Microsoft is trying to entice upgraders because that's where their sales have always been lacking.