updated 05:00 pm EDT, Mon July 2, 2012
Downloadable Windows 8 Upgrade promotion runs until January
Microsoft is aiming to maximize the number of users installing Windows 8 via electronic download by offering the Pro version for $40 for online sales only. Users of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 will be able to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro in 131 markets, according to the Windows Team Blog, with Windows Media Center being a free option after the upgrade has taken place.
Potential upgraders will have to use Windows.com to purchase Windows 8 to get the discounted price. An Upgrade Assistant will walk users through the process from payment to download and then to installation, and will provide a detailed compatibility report after checking the PC, in case of any issues that need to be addressed before installation can take place.
An "Install later" option will let users create their own upgrade DVD or a bootable USB thumb drive, or alternatively pay $15 for a backup DVD to be sent by mail. Buying a packaged DVD version will cost $70 during the promotional period, which runs until the end of January 2013. Windows 8 is currently expected to be released sometime in October.