Microsoft opens Windows 8.1 pre-orders

Microsoft opens Windows 8.1 pre-orders

Summary: Microsoft's Windows 8.1 pre-order campaign kicks off in the US, but there's no word yet whether it will be rolled out elsewhere.

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Microsoft has started taking pre-orders for the its desktop OS Windows 8.1 ahead of the global launch on 17 October.

As Microsoft has previously said, anyone running Windows 8 will automatically be upgraded to Windows 8.1 for free, while everyone else running earlier versions of the Microsoft OS will need to pay $119.99 or $199.99 for Pro. 

The pre-order campaign, opened today in the US, is aimed chiefly at customers running Windows 7, since as Microsoft notes: "Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista."

Microsoft says that files can be transferred easily during the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, but as it outlined earlier this month, desktop apps including Office will need to be reinstalled after users have upgraded to the new OS.  

Meanwhile, Microsoft is encouraging anyone running Windows Vista or XP to upgrade to Windows 8. Users that upgrade to Windows 8 now will "qualifiy" for the free upgrade to 8.1.

It's got some considerable ground to make up: it's thought 500 million machines around the world are still running XP, despite Microsoft ending support for the OS next April.

ZDNet has asked Microsoft whether the pre-sale campaign will be extended to non-US markets and will update the story if it receives one. 

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Windows

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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44 comments
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  • great

    it has an effect of decent computer user similar to penguin fart on the south pole.
    ljenux
  • Do Windows 8 Users Need to Order It?

    Or will the free update appear as an option under Windows Update?
    Luke Skywalker
    • I believe it will be in the Store

      Not delivered by Windows Update.
      x I'm tc
  • As per the article above ...

    ... "anyone running Windows 8 will automatically be upgraded to Windows 8.1 for free"
    bitcrazed
    • I'm sure Microsoft's lawyers signed an binding legal contract

      to ensure what this third party article said is the rock stone solid truth...

      Regardless of what is claimed, let's wait for the release date.
      HypnoToad72
  • Re: Microsoft opens Windows 8.1 pre-orders....

    Windows 8.1 is possibly the most anticipated release of the platform to date. It pretty much rights all the wrongs with Windows 8.
    That much is clear in the excellent Windows 8.1 Preview which is the only Beta release I have known to be stable enough to run on a production machine albeit on Parallels inside OS X.
    But that is where I will stop. I will run Windows 8.1 Preview in to the ground. Why I here you ask. Simple answer is I am not paying $199.99 when I can get OS X 10.9 for a third of the price upon its release.
    Many will benefit from the free upgrade from Windows 8 and that has to be the best deal going. But otherwise its just not worth it.
    5735guy
    • OS X costs $500 dollars to use.

      That's the minimum price just to use the OS.

      It only runs on Mac hardware, after all.
      ForeverCookie
      • Your medication is in the left drawer of the cabinet

        OSX is $29 for one version (no Home version, no Business version, no Media Server version, no Professional version, no Ultimate version). Since your statement is trying to bring in a controlled "usage" POV (not a valid way to debate without bias), then one can say it costs $700 to use Win8 ... but that's a rather silly process for debating OS costs.
        Rob Ainscough
        • Rob, what will you run it on?

          If you have not already bought Apple hardware and are running Windows (ANY version) how do you propose running this $29 OSX without buying Apple hardware?
          john-whorfin
        • That's not the correct comparison.

          I believe the point is that, since you can only use OSX on a Mac, the lowest cost for a user (who doesn't have any computer right now) to have that experience would the price of the cheapest Mac. But for user who doesn't have any computer right now to have windows 8.1 experience with the lowest cost, the user can either to buy from any OEM or build his own, whichever is cheaper. Since Windows computers can go down to the 200 or 300 dollar range, the cost for a customer is lower to get 8.1 and not OSX.

          On the other hand, in 5735guy's situation, he already invested in a premium priced computer--a Mac to begin with, therefore, the price for him to get 8.1 would be about 120 dollars, which by itself is more than the next upgrade for OSX. So in this case, it's economically more efficient for him to use OSX at this point (he could have saved more money had he made a different decision purchasing a Windows computer). But then again, if he really wanted to use Windows, why buy a Mac?

          Also, if lower cost of OS is what drive average consumer to a platform, we should be seeing mass Linux domination today....Most average consumer has one computer running one OS, and if they happen to be really price-sensitive, then they wouldn't buy a Mac to begin with.
          xelsm
      • Mac hardware is 100% off-the-shelf Intel fluff

        "Mac-branded hardware" seems more apropos...
        HypnoToad72
        • Oh yeah...

          It might be 100% Intel but you try finding a system board that will install OSX. $29 is a bargain and MS need to get a grip on reality at some stage. In reality just check out the Hackintosh feeds,,, I gave up as it just wasn't worth the hassle. If you want OSX just go the whole hog and buy a MAC. Don't waste your precious time with anything less then 100% compliant... which restricts you to a couple of Asus systems last time I cared to look.

          We can all download AIO versions that cost nought, and are 100% 'legitimate' and will run for years updating nicely. Some of us would like to pay MS for OS but 3 x MS prices just do NOT add up to a good deal. Me.. I managed to get an upgrade deal for £30 or so, one kid got Win7 with her mini PC and the other just got a neat Lenovo with Win8 Home edition. We're all compliant; all legit (for a change); and very happy. I wouldn't be so happy if I had to pay current MS prices and to be honest would probably look to Linux again (one test system is OK, for free, and I can accept the odd crash for that price :-) )
          johnmckay
    • Win 8.1 "pretty much rights all the wrongs with Windows 8"?

      Nope. It's still Windows 8. v8.1 is like putting lipstick on a pig. Paint me skeptical, but I don't believe v8.1 will result in a significant increase in Windows 8.x adoption, an explosion of Windows PC or notebook sales, nor an explosion of Windows tablet sales.
      SteveMak
      • It's the same one OS for Mobile and Desktop, which failed for Win8 sooooo..

        Agree, why is Microsoft beating a dead horse? Clearly the huge majority of users (and developers) don't want a single OS that "does all" -- the desktop and mobile environments are significantly different enough to warrant a different OS. An OS that benefits each environment, not an OS the compromise BOTH environments.

        Microsoft has some highly paid executives -- how could something so obvious be so hard for them to understand?
        Rob Ainscough
        • beating a dead horse?

          according to netmarketshare Windows 8 already has more users than all variants of OSX. Why is Apple beating a dead horse? Clearly the huge majority of users (and developers) don't want OSX.
          john-whorfin
      • Agree that Windows 8.1 WILL NOT Right the Wrongs of Windows 8

        Although Windows 8.1 is MUCH better than Windows 8--and I have been using each release since the DP back in Sept '11. However, I don't see where it will garner much support in the market. Regardless of what some people think, it seems to me that most consumers still want the start menu on "traditional" computers.

        As a Senior SysAdmin, I am only one of three people running Windows 8.1 in our IT shop. Worse is that each person who is running it loathes the forced "Modern" interface. Even when offered to select end-users, ALL have declined. A relative of mine just bequeathed her new Windows 8 Toshiba laptop to her children in favor of a Dell with Windows 7. Reason: Windows 8.

        Yes, Windows 8.1 has a much better start screen than Windows 8. It is also easier to get to said start screen with the return of a start button. Nonetheless, with all of the improvements to the start screen, it is still a lousy start menu replacement on traditional, non-touch computers. And let's not even talk about Server 2012/2012 R2.

        Can Windows 8.x be fixed? It sure can. Easily. When you see what StarDock does with Windows 8 by bringing back a very customization start menu and allowing the "Modern" applications to run in a windowed mode, it is easy to see that Microsoft could have easily eased Windows 8 into the market sans any real backlash.

        If Microsoft adjusted pricing to ensure maximal adoption, MSFT could have kept the current pricing structure for people w/no Windows OS. For users running Windows 7, MSFT could have offered Windows 8.x (with a Start8 like start menu) $49.99. For those running Vista or XP, the "migration" price could have been set to a palatable $79.99.

        But nope. For Microsoft and companies similar, it is all about monetization. You have Biological, Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical, Nuclear, and Software Engineers. I am sure there is now a field called Monetization Engineers (MonE). MonE professionals sit around and confer with all of the other engineers and engineer methods of creating revenue around "new" products. I think this is Microsoft's current strategy.

        As a long time Microsoft evangelist and fan, it pains me to see this happen; it pains me even more to acknowledge that if Microsoft does not do something soon, they will loose the desktop and server market. It's bad enough that Microsoft is seeing "market" attrition due to cloud and portable devices. The last thing they need is to accelerate that attrition with great products sporting a terrible UI that nobody wants.
        DarienHawk67
    • Replace "8.1" and "8" with "7 SP1" and "7" and the cant sounds too familiar

      And repetitive, down to Vista's SPs, XP, etc...
      HypnoToad72
  • 17 October is the release day of Ubuntu 13.10

    "Microsoft has started taking pre-orders for the its desktop OS Windows 8.1 ahead of the global launch on 17 October."

    Why Microsoft choose the day? To minimize the impact of Ubuntu 13.10 release?
    ac1234555
    • Ubuntu is irrelevant for Windows

      And it's also irrelevant for Ubuntu that MS releases windows 8.1 in the same time frame.
      AleMartin
      • Ubuntu (Linux) and Windows are competitors

        They are very relevant in every way.
        ac1234555