Microsoft announced at its Worldwide Partners Conference that Windows 8 will be launching in October.
Although no specific launch date was provided, Windows 8 should be released to manufacturing (RTM) in August, with retail copies being made available to the public by the end of October.
There are a number of Windows 8 promotional offers which expire on 31 January 2013:
1. $14.99 Downloadable Upgrade for New W7 Computers
This offer is open to anyone who buys a qualifying Windows 7 computer between 2 June 2012 and 31 January 2013. For $14.99 users can download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro – see my review for more details.
Note that this upgrade does not include Windows Media Center – you would need to purchase the Windows 8 Media Center Pack separately.
2. $39.99 Downloadable Upgrade for Any Qualifying Computer
Consumer versions of XP, Vista and Windows 7 on qualifying computers will be able to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 until 31 January 2013. See here for more details.
Note that you can add Windows Media Center for free through Add Windows Features within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade. You can burn your own backup DVD of this W8 download or, if you prefer, purchase a backup DVD from Microsoft for an extra $15 plus shipping and handling – still a little cheaper than offer 3 below.
3. $69.99 Retail DVD Upgrade for Any Qualifying Computer
Same as Offer 2 except that this is a packaged DVD version of the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro – useful if you prefer to shop at a local store or have a very slow internet connection.
This offer is also available until 31 January 2013.
Notes On Downloads
The 64bit version of Windows 8 Pro is a whopping 3.5GB download. Although you should be able to pause and continue this download, a decent broadband connection would be helpful.
As a guide, a basic 2Mbps broadband connection could take about 4 hours to download the upgrade.
The first offer (for new computers) is worse than the equivalent upgrades available prior to the launches of Vista and Windows 7 – those were both free. However, it’s still a good price compared to the other Windows 8 offers – if you don’t mind not having Media Center.
The second offer is the pick of the bunch – Media Center is a free addition and, unlike previous upgrades, it applies to all 3 previous versions of Windows.
What do you think – will these offers entice you to switch to Windows 8 or are you happy with your current operating system of choice?