Current Windows users can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 when the new operating system ships later this year, Microsoft said late Monday. And Microsoft will throw in Windows Media Center for free.
In a bid to boost adoption of Windows 8, Microsoft will offer the $39.99 upgrade through a promotion set to run through Jan. 31, 2013, said Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft communications manager, in a blog post.
The $39.99 price, available to owners of PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, applies to customers who download Windows 8 from Windows.com. A packaged DVD version of the upgrade will be available through retail channels for $69.99 during the promotion.
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"We wanted to share information about this upgrade promotion with you as we continue to drive toward the [release to manufacturing] milestone for Windows 8," LeBlanc wrote, referring to the release of the software that is distributed through retail and solution provider channels.
Much of LeBlanc's blog is devoted to describing the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant that will lead customers through the upgrade process. The Upgrade Assistant, for example, will check to make sure a customer's PC is ready for Windows 8, check for application and device compatibility issues, and ask what customers want to carry over from their old Windows installation.
Windows 7 users will be able to carry over their Windows settings, personal files and applications. But Windows Vista users will be limited to bringing along Windows settings and personal files, and Windows XP users will be restricted to only personal files.
"We believe that your upgrade experience in Windows 8 will be a breeze by offering a faster experience, a single upgrade path, and compatibility from prior versions of Windows," LeBlanc wrote.
Once the Windows 8 upgrade is complete customers will be able to download Windows Media Center for free through the "add features" option within Windows 8 Pro, he added.
PUBLISHED JULY 3, 2012