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Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Preorders Available

Upgrade copies of Windows 8 Pro for x86/x64 systems can now be preordered from various retail outlets, Microsoft announced today.

The boxed product, containing a DVD upgrade disk, costs about $69.99 at U.S. retail outlets, such as the Microsoft Store, Amazon.com, Best Buy and others. While you can pay in advance to order the Windows 8 Pro upgrade, "general availability" or product release still happens on October 26, which means that the upgrade copy won't be in your hands until that date.

When the upgrade arrives, it will come in one of five box designs. Microsoft shows off those designs at this Facebook page.

Windows 8 Pro box
[Click on image for larger view.]
New Windows 8 Pro box (one of five designs).

The Windows 8 Pro upgrade is available for Windows 7 users with specific qualifying editions. Those editions are "Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, or Windows 7 Ultimate," according to Microsoft.

Those Windows 7 users who are comfortable upgrading their machines via an online connection, instead of a DVD, can get the Windows 8 Pro upgrade via Microsoft's Windows 8 upgrade assistant for $39.99. That upgrade offer starts on Windows 8's general availability date of October 26.

One catch on the upgrading pricing, both for the retail boxed copies and the online upgrade, is that the offer will end after Jan. 31, 2013. The retail price for the upgrade after that date will be about $199.

Microsoft also has an even lower cost Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer for consumers that have bought new Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013. Those having such "qualifying" Windows 7 PCs can upgrade online to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99. However, there are some nuances to this deal, namely a registration process, plus the Windows 8 Pro download has to take place before Feb. 28, 2013 or the deal is void.

All of these deals are just for consumers, and not for business users. Consumers can get the discounts on up to five PCs.

According to a released statement by Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft's OEM Division, Microsoft's original equipment partners are currently working to produce "more than 800 different devices" certified to run the Windows 8 or Windows RT operating systems. OEMs expected to release Windows 8 machines include Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Sony, among others.

Windows 8 will be a notable release for Microsoft in that it will run on various device form factors, including desktop PCs, laptops and tablets. It will also appear on new "Ultrabooks," the slim laptops being promoted by Intel. For a glimpse of some of those emerging machines, see this Redmond Channel Partner article.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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