Software // Operating Systems
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7/5/2012
11:00 AM
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Windows 8 Upgrade FAQ: How To Go Metro

Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to get PC users onto its new OS; here's what you need to know.

Windows 8 Preview: Key Features
Windows 8 Preview: Key Features
(click image for slideshow)
Microsoft this week released pricing and other details on programs that will allow PC users to upgrade their systems to Windows 8 when the OS becomes available later this year. The company is making a number of upgrade options available as it looks to persuade users to jump to Windows 8, a radical reboot of the Windows franchise that represents a make or break technology bet for Redmond. Here's what we know so far.

1. Windows 7 To Windows 8: Win7, not surprisingly, offers the simplest and most straightforward upgrade path to Windows 8. According to Microsoft, current Windows 7 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, via a download, for just $39.99. The process retains all of the users' existing files, apps, and personal settings.

2. Windows Vista To Windows 8: Vista users (if there are any left) can also move to Windows 8 Pro via the $39.99 download option. The process preserves personal files and settings, but apps will need to be reinstalled.

3. XP To Windows 8: The upgrade program Microsoft announced stretches back to cover Windows XP, which is now more than a decade old. It's an acknowledgement by Redmond that XP still commands significant market share, particularly in the enterprise and small businesses segments. XP users can download the Win8 Pro upgrade for $39.99, but only their personal files will be maintained after upgrading. Apps and settings will need to be manually restored. All official support for XP ends in 2014.

[ Get expert guidance on Microsoft Windows 8. InformationWeek's Windows 8 Super Guide rounds up the key news, analysis, and reviews that you need. ]

4. Installation: Once the Windows 8 upgrade files have been downloaded, users will be given the choice to either begin installation immediately, or save the files and install later. Those choosing the latter option can create a bootable USB or .ISO file, which can be burned to a DVD.

5. Backup DVD: Users who purchase and download the Windows 8 upgrade can also request a pre-configured backup DVD, which Microsoft will send through snail mail for $15.

6. Retail Option: Consumers who are not comfortable with a DIY download or burning DVDs can purchase boxed upgrade discs that will be available at Best Buy and other major retailers. The luxury of getting the packaged DVD version comes at a price however: Windows 8 Pro upgrade purchased on a retail disc costs $69.99--75% more than the download version.

7. New PC Buyers: Shoppers who can't wait for Windows 8 systems to hit the stores later this year can buy a new, Windows 7 system and upgrade later to Windows 8 Pro. The cost of that option is just $14.99 (in addition, of course, to the price of the new computer). The program is meant to keep PC sales humming during the summer months while Microsoft puts the finishing touches on Windows 8.

8. Deadlines: Both the $39.99 software-only upgrade program and the $14.99 system upgrade expire Jan. 31, 2013, although in the case of the latter users have until Feb. 28 to download the Windows 8 upgrade files. Microsoft has not announced an official release date for Windows 8, but it's expected to be available in the fall.

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Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/7/2012 | 2:24:38 AM
re: Windows 8 Upgrade FAQ: How To Go Metro
I wasn't aware that an end of availability date for Windows 7 existed yet.

Given that one of my recent projects involved migrating a Fortune 500 from Windows XP to Windows 7, there's still a huge install base of Windows XP out there and I think most rational organizations wouldn't put Windows 8 out there as soon as it's available.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
Cool heads win out
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Cool heads win out,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/5/2012 | 8:25:31 PM
re: Windows 8 Upgrade FAQ: How To Go Metro
What about downgrade rights? If a user is on XP, and wants to go to 7, can they buy the upgrade to 8 and install 7?
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/5/2012 | 7:38:04 PM
re: Windows 8 Upgrade FAQ: How To Go Metro
XP could have been put out to pasture long ago, yet Microsoft is documenting and supporting a migration and not charging extra for it.

Perhaps this represents a mea culpa on Microsoft's part: They have to recognize that the reason that so many users stuck with XP was that Vista was an abysmal flop and Win 7 a partial one because of Microsoft's refusal to start over.

Perhaps Microsoft has noticed the price of OS X upgrades going down and Google OSes being free. That's a good thing about competition.

Whatever the reason, credit where credit is due. It's commendable how easy and inexpensive Microsoft is making it to migrate to Windows 8. I'm sure that it will pay dividends, especially if the OS is at long last more intuitive and more secure from the inside out.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/5/2012 | 5:53:37 PM
re: Windows 8 Upgrade FAQ: How To Go Metro
XP users beware. If the upgrade is anything like the upgrade from XP to 7 it may be more than just a pain. I found out the hard way that you just can't do a completely clean install like with an upgraded motherboard and processor. You must completely load XP and that means all the updates sequentially. Then you can do the upgrade of the software from XP to 7. It is probably the same with 8. In the past you just needed the original disk that you were going to upgrade to check if you really had it. But lets fast forward to 2015. Your whole system crashes. You rebuild then try to use your upgrade. It tells you you need an up to date XP to upgrade. Who knows if that will even be available.
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