Windows 8: Pricing, packaging, upgrading, etc.


Windows 8 may come in in fewer flavors than its predecessors but it seems pricing policy is set to be as confusing as ever, if not more so. One thing appears certain; anyone wishing to purchase the new operating system, whether it be via upgrade, OEM, or whatever, is going to get a much better deal this side of January 31st, 2013… prices after that date (when the promotion expires) are set to rise dramatically. Of course, that may be subject to change, depending on how well Windows 8 sells during those early post-release months. However, that is how it stands at the moment.

Windows 8 is (or will be) available in just two editions for home PC users; Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Neither edition includes Media Center or support for DVD playback. Media Center cannot be added to Windows 8 but will be available to purchase as an add-on for Windows 8 Pro. I cannot see any reason why the DVD playback issue could not easily be resolved by installing one of the good, free third party media players such as VLC.

Here is a run down of features included in Windows 8 Pro which are missing from the standard Windows 8:

  • BitLocker encryption
  • Boot from VHD
  • Join a Windows domain
  • Group Policy
  • Hyper-V (on 64-bit systems with SLAT capable CPU)
  • Windows Media Center (via purchased add-on)
  • Remote Desktop – Client & Host (Windows 8 includes Client only)

You can view a full feature comparison chart on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_8_editions

I’ve hunted all around the net and as far as I can see there is still no official word from Microsoft on an exact overall pricing structure. However, we can ascertain some aspects of pricing through dribs and drabs of information posted on Microsoft related blogs and via pre-order details from retail outlets.


Here is what we now know for certain:

  • Windows 8 Pro upgrade is now available to pre-order through selected retailers at $69.99us.
  • If you purchase (or have purchased) an eligible Windows 7 PC any time between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $14.99us – redeemable commencing 26th October.
  • Microsoft is set to offer an online Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $39.99us, available from 26th October through 31st January 2013 (a backup DVD will also be available for an additional $15.00).

*According to an article posted on Windows Blog, Media Center will be available free to everyone who upgrades via Microsoft’s $39.99 online process:

We set out to make it as easy as possible for everyone to upgrade to Windows 8. Starting at general availability, if your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99. And if you want, you can add Windows Media Center for free through the “add features” option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade.

Also, online retailer Newegg is currently offering the following ‘deals’ on Windows 8 pre-orders:

  • Windows 8 Professional Upgrade – $69.99 (save $130)
  • Windows 8 Pro Pack – Product Key Card (no media) – $69.99 (save $30)
  • Windows 8 (Full Version) – OEM $99.99
  • Windows 8 Pro (Full Version) – OEM $139.99

The deals appear to confirm packaging and pricing details which Microsoft has yet to announce publicly itself. The fact that Newegg has appended a “save $130.00” note to the Windows 8 Pro upgrade deal also seems to suggest that the price is set to jump to $199.99 after the promotion expires on January 31st.

In case you were wondering, the ‘Windows 8 Pro Pack’ is for upgrading Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro. Meaning that if you originally purchased Windows 8 and then wish to upgrade to Pro you will currently have to fork out a further $69.99 for the privilege. This also looks set to increase at promotion’s end, by $30.00 to $99.90. Although, according to an article posted on the MSDN blog, the Pro Pack does include Media Center.


From what I have read, and based on the pricing structure as it currently stands, it appears the Pro edition represents the sweeter deal. The best (least expensive) option for anyone looking to upgrade, other than those who are eligible for the $14.99 deal, certainly appears to be Microsoft’s $39.99 online offer.

*Those who are eligible for the special $14.99 upgrade price have until February 28th, 2013 to register… here is a link to full instructions: Windows Upgrade Offer Registration Now Available.

**Details regarding pricing are relevant to the U.S. – other countries may vary.

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

7 Comments

  1. I don’t purchase anything new from Microsoft as soon as it comes out .. I believe its a smart move on my part …

  2. What significant advantage does Windows 8 offer me that 7 doesn’t have? I still have 3 machines on XP and 2 on Windows 7. I want to get the machines off XP eventually, as there are only 2 more years (roughly) that it is supported. I heard that 8 works better than 7 on older machines that might not have as much horsepower as they need to efficiently run Windows 7. I usually wait on upgrades to new Microsoft products until the bugs are worked out or I never upgrade if the product isn’t solid (i.e. Vista, Windows Me, several other versions). As far as I am concerned the ONLY decent versions of Windows were Win 2000, Win XP and Win 7. Have my doubts about 8; most people who have tried it either love it or hate it.

    • David, the most significant advantage is price. Microsoft is offering some extremely aggressive pricing for Windows 8! If you want to keep those PC’s I doubt you would be able to upgrade 1 to Windows 7 for the price you could update all three to Win 8 (IMHO).

  3. If I upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7 and don’t like it, can I then downgrade (go back) to Windows 7? Are there time limits to downgrade to Windows 7 after upgrading?

    • Hi Susana – Be very careful how you approach this, there are serious limitations associated with downgrading.

      To the best of my knowledge: downgrade rights for home users are only available for anyone who purchases a new PC with Windows 8 Pro pre-installed. Those users can then downgrade to Windows 7 Pro or Vista Business.

      Of course, provided you have installation media plus a genuine product key, you could always go to back to Windows 7 by wiping the drive and re-installing.

      Cheers… Jim

  4. Hi Jim,
    Can i keep both win7 and win8 installed on my pc after upgrade. As i have promo code for upgrading to win8 pro just for $14.99 so i am looking for upgrade. but i am not sure window 8 pro will work like win7 so i am little bit confuse whether go for upgrade or not. Or Suggest me some way to keep both win8 and Win7 Installed on my pc. One more thing i would like to know that when i upgrade through window8 upgrade assistance what will happen it will start installing after download automatically? or just download give me option to installed later time and keep download copy in system?

    • Hey Zeff – No, you cannot keep both operating systems. An ‘upgrade’ automatically replaces your older operating system with the new one. However, I have read reports from Windows 7 users who have downloaded the Windows 8 upgrade, created bootable media, and then clean installed Windows 8 on a separate partition, successfully keeping their Windows 7 in a dual boot system. However, I have seen nothing official so cannot guarantee this will work.

      You have until 28th February, 2013 to redeem your $14.99 upgrade. In other words you have until that time to decide. Bear in mind, you will not be able to upgrade for the $14.99 after 28th February.

      Not sure of the exact online upgrade procedure, having not been through it myself. But from what I have read; it will check your PC for compatibility and then download Windows 8 to your machine. Once the download has been completed you will then be presented with options to “Install now” or “Create media”. Selecting the first option will install Windows 8 automatically. The second option will create bootable media for you to install Win8 later yourself.

      Hope that helps,
      Cheers… Jim