Microsoft has detailed aggressive pricing plans to convince users to upgrade their PC to Windows 8 once it is generally available, plus an easy upgrade path that makes it as simple as possible for users to install the new platform.
The software giant has revealed that users already running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 will qualify for an early bird discount. Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 (£25) across 131 markets, from when it is launched until 31 January 2013.
However, the company declined to detail which territories are included in these 131 markets, and a Microsoft spokesperson told V3 that no local pricing information is yet available for UK buyers.
Announcing the new upgrade policy on The Windows Blog, Microsoft communications manager Brandon LeBlanc detailed how users will be able to upgrade from any consumer edition of Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro, while keeping their Windows settings, personal files and apps.
Those upgrading from Windows Vista will be able to keep Windows settings and personal files, but those currently running Windows XP will only be able to keep personal files after the upgrade.
Microsoft claims to have made upgrading as painless as possible by providing a tool that can take care of the entire process from start to finish.
"When you use Windows.com to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant makes upgrading simple by walking you through the upgrade process step-by-step from purchase to download and then of course installation," wrote LeBlanc.
The Upgrade Assistant provides a detailed compatibility report that lets users know of anything that may need to be addressed before or after the upgrade, including application or device compatibility issues.
After download, users will be able to proceed with the upgrade or install it later, either from the desktop or by creating a bootable USB memory stick or DVD.
As detailed previously, Windows Media Center is not included in Windows 8 as standard, but Microsoft has now said that users will be able to download this for free through the "add features" option following installation of the new operating system.
Alternatively, a packaged DVD version of the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will be available in retail outlets for $69.99 (£46) during the promotion period, Microsoft said.
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