Microsoft puts more muscle behind Windows 8 upgrade push

Microsoft puts more muscle behind Windows 8 upgrade push

Summary: Microsoft is offering Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 users a $39.99 upgrade incentive to move to Windows 8.


Microsoft is offering users running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 an offer to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99.

Microsoft officials shared details about the latest promotion on July 2 on the Windows Team blog.

That's substantially cheaper than Microsoft traditionally charges for "upgrade" versions of Windows. With Windows 7, Microsoft charged users roughly $119 to $219 (estimated retail prices) to upgrde from comparable versions of Vista to 7.

The coming offer, available through, is good in 131 markets, according to today's blog post. Windows Media Center can be added for free to this bundle through the "add features" option after the upgrade. (Microsoft officials have said previously that Windows Media Center would be a low-priced add on to Windows 8 Pro.)

Those purchasing the Windows 8 Pro upgrade through also will have the option of purchasing a backup DVD for $15 plus shipping and handling.  Those preferring to buy from a local store will be able to purchase a packaged DVD version of the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $69.99 during this promotion period.

This upgrade promotion for Windows 8 Pro both online and at retail runs through January 31, 2013. It commences as of the general availability of Windows 8, confirmed a tweet from a Microsoft public relations rep.

Microsoft officials announced recently another Windows 8 upgrade promotion -- the $14.99 Windows 8 Upgrade offer available to those purchasing new Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013.

Microsoft officials also disclosed officially the supported upgrade paths for Windows 8 in a fairly general way in today's post (thanks @TheRackow). I posted late last week more complete information that has been shared privately with select individuals about the upgrade options available to XP, Vista and Windows 7 users for Windows 8.

Microsoft officials have not said publicly when Windows 8, in its four or so various flavors, will be generally available. The latest rumored release-to-manufacturing dates for Windows 8 are now centering around July 2012, with the rumored general-availability date expected by many to be in October 2012.

Update: By the way, upgrades are not the main way most users get the latest version of Windows. Far from it. Most -- both consumers and business users -- tend to wait until they are getting new PCs preloaded with a new version of Windows, rather than take the time and trouble to upgrade their existing PCs.

Update No. 2 (July 5): Computerworld (citing Microsoft as its source) says that users running the Windows 8 Release Preview also will be allowed to move to the Windows 8 Pro final version for $39.99 once the OS is generally available. Only personal data files will be kept, however; no settings or applications will be automatically moved over as part of the process, Computerworld added.

Topics: Operating Systems, 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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They must be getting scared.

    I've used windows since 3.0 and 8 is the only 'start menu' change I've found the least productive. I'll still pass at $40.
    • Yep.

      You go on keeping your head in the sand.
      • I will.

        It's still probably more productive then the sliding puzzle pieces.
        • Yep, that's what some said about DOS ...

          ... as MS moved fully to the GUI. I guess some people think that moving on from a computing paradigm that is over 20 years old, is unnecessary, even as the world around them changes.
          P. Douglas
          • Actually

            I find that command line or terminal is quicker than gui..
            Windows command prompt, linux bash or osx terminal.
            Anthony E
          • LOL!

            You're not only an idiot, you're a liar. Only a fool would suggest that we should have stuck with command line.
          • Please

            For power users, the command line is still better. Why do you think it's so popular amongst developers and server admins?

            That you don't know that just proves how invalid your opinion is.
          • Power users?

            As you stated in your comment, server admins and developers may prefer the command line... power users do not.
          • Powershell

            Actually, that is correct. In fact, Powershell has become quite popular for administrators and developers from what I can tell.
          • powerusers vs unthinking majority

            MS needs to cater to the unthinking majority in order to compete against Apple and Google. They give you a bunch of big colorful icons (aka shinny objects) that you can tap and flick. They even give you a button to take you back to your shinny happy land when you get lost.

            Of course for people who are not addlepates this interface is annoying.

            Window 8 does have plenty for the power user but you need to spend 10 minutes to set up your system so that these power user features are easily accessible. You also will need to learn a few keyboard shortcuts.

            This is no different for Apple. Apple is also tuned so that a two year old can pick it up and play. It does not mean that power users can't use macs. It does mean that they need to learn a few keyboard short cuts in order to be productive.
          • What? You don't know what's going on.

            I use a command line in Linux all the time. It's a necessity. Some things you need to do don't have a GUI. I've been using CAD since 1981. For Autocad, I type in my commands instead of using the menus. It's faster and a lot less eyestrain at the end of the day.

            For other people, using menus and pull downs is a necessity and may be the only choice.
            He's not advocating only one method, but you still need a command line.
          • Well just because your too dumb to do it...

            ...doesn't mean somebody else can't.

            Maybe you should stick to comic books, don't-cha think jackmmhack?
          • Quicker?

            Sure, once you are an expert on the software. How about learning something new? Do you also find that command lines are better for the mainstream?
          • Really, it's no major earthshaking design change.

            They put a Cadillac bumper on a Plymouth and according to the hype, transformed the entire car.

            I'm not a Windows user, but I probably have more Windows experience than most people here.

            My take on Metro is an attempt by Microsoft to create a new look that will define computing to current users and to new generations. That's it. The programs work the same way and I haven't heard anyone talking about UEFI or increased security.

            I was asked to write a report to the management of a large engineering company to hi-light the advantages of moving the company from 3.1 to NT. An outside company called NetG was brought in with their online tutorial and testing software. each employee had to score 80 or above on the online test to be able to use the new computers. I, along with one other employee (out of 1,000 employees) was able to score 100 on the test. There were approximately 50,000 workstations involved with the transition (worldwide).

            Migrating to another OS in a large company environment is extremely difficult. This is made much more difficult now with the current economic collapse. That's why XP is still so powerful. Selling Metro upgrades for $40. or even giving it away is not going to kill XP or Win7 in the workplace. There's too much at stake in terms of productivity and lost time to even consider it. Add the V-Tech toy appearance of the desktop, and that's the final nail in the coffin. You may like Metro and understand it's still the same old Windows under that new face, but there's no intuitive connection to icons.

            Another thought is it's preemptive damage control from the fallout on Monday, July 9.

            The TDL-4 botnet family has modified DNS settings to use their own server farm. The FBI secured these servers and realized that if they disconnected them, thousands, if not millions of Windows users infected with the botnets would lose their internet connection. So, they "cleaned" them and left them running. However, this Monday, July 9, they will permanently disconnect them.

            Ed Bott nor ZDNet has written a story about the TDL-4 or it's siblings like Aleuron.DX. There's no story here about the July 9 situation. If you want information, you have to Google it and go elsewhere. All the topics here and nothing about this. It just proves beyond any doubt that ZDNet is a Microsoft propaganda tool. Enjoy.

          • We'll see..

            ...come July 10th, and you alter your comment to another date further up the calendar year.
          • Another bogus non-Windows user expert explains squat!

            WOW! No, you are obviously spewing misinformation and therefore a propaganda tool for another undiscloded OS, since you didn't specify it in your diatribe.

            Here we go again. Another "I'm not a Windows user, but I probably have more Windows experience than most people here" attempt to undermind MS's new OS launch with hperbole (sorry for the ultra technical term). He goes on, " I haven't heard anyone talking about UEFI or increased security." WTF? Google it and you'll easily find dozens of articles discussing those topics in detail. Therefore, your entire tirade goes out the 'Window.'

            I guess since you don't use Windows that you missed that UEFI has been supported by Windows and avail with many PC 64bit systems since prior to 2003 and x86 systems since 2010! My own P8Z68-V ASUS UEFI BIOS offers the first mouse-controlled graphical BIOS which I currently have used since the Fall of 2011. Support by Windows 8 won't be any different since it's mostly a hardware based inclusion anyway, meaning that UEFI isn't an OS issue to worry about. "Microsoft introduced UEFI for x86-64 Windows operating systems with Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1, so the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 are compatible with EFI. 32-bit UEFI is not supported since vendors did not have any interest in producing native 32-bit UEFI firmware because of the mainstream status of 64-bit computing.[38] Windows 8 includes further optimizations for UEFI systems, including a faster startup and secure boot support."

            'According to Aryeh Goretsky, a researcher at security firm ESET, "after reviewing the layers of technologies used by Microsoft to protect Windows 8, it is our opinion that it is the most secure version of Microsoft Windows to date." That analysis comes by way of a new Windows 8 security white paper from ESET, authored by Goretsky. While his analysis doesn't review every new Windows 8 security feature--such as AppContainer, for application sandboxing--it highlights what he sees as the operating system's four biggest security improvements:

            '1. Antivirus Now Active by Default
            '2. Windows Rewrites Target Bootkit Malware
            '3. BIOS Firmware Gets UEFI Replacement
            '4. Anti-Malware Launches Early'

            Finally, businesses rarely adopt early with any new OS. The switch from Win XP to Win 7 was one of the biggest in business history. But when they do upgrade they get tax breaks just like they do with every other business expenditure so cost isn't always an issue when there's plenty cash flow available. When it's tight, well, that's another story.

            The TDL-4 botnet is another issue entirely of which is easily avoided with the proper 3rd party software.
    • Yeah, so scared they have promotions all the time

      so they've been scared every time.
      William Farrel
      • Promotions

        Yeah, they have promotions all of the time, but never on this scale. Usually it includes mostly just students and not every day consumers. Plus, when have you ever been able to buy Windows for $40 (for a fully legitimate retail license) outside of piracy? Not to mention you can upgrade from as far back as Windows XP! ;)
        • The difference now is the Windows Store...

          The more people that are on Windows 8, the more people with access to the Windows Store to buy apps, the more interest there will be in developing metro apps. It would be stupid of them to continue with the old pricing structure.
          • Incentive To Move the XP Users As Well

            Off of XP! While Microsoft will support these users for a little while longer, it seems it would be easier for them to transition sooner rather than later.