Windows 8 Pricing (Plus Other Confusing Facts and Rumors)
Windows 8 is coming to market on October 26, and Microsoft is doing all it can to urge users to upgrade to its radically new operating system. That includes dropping the cost of a Windows 8 Pro upgrade to unprecedented lows. But will the lower price tag be enough to entice people to switch?
How Much Will Windows 8 Cost?
Current users of Windows 7, XP, and Vista will be able to download a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for only $39.99. A copy on DVD will cost $69.99, but you can expect discounts from major retailers. These prices will be available until January 31, 2013. If you buy a Windows 7 PC between now and January 31, you will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $14.99.
Rumor has it that the standalone version of Windows 8 Pro, fit for installing on a bare-metal PC with no previous version of Windows, will sell for $69.99 from October 26 to January 31; it may cost $199 thereafter. Microsoft is calling this full version Windows 8 Pro System Builder, designed for do-it-yourself folks who are building their own systems.
Windows 8 Pro is the “full Monty” version designed for business, technical, and enthusiast users. With less than a month before launch, we still don’t know what pricing will be for Windows 8, the basic consumer edition. It omits features like drive encryption, group policy, and virtualization. The other two editions are Windows 8 Enterprise and Windows 8 RT (tablet version). Pricing for the former will depend on license volumes, and the latter will be embedded in tablets and smartphones.
Oh, in case you're as confused as the next guy by geeky acronyms, here's a bit more... The Windows 8 RT tablet product is also referred to as Windows 8 ARM (because it runs on the ARM chip that tablets use) and WOA (Windows on ARM).
If you wish, you can try the desktop Enterprise edition of Windows 8 for 90 days, free of charge. Microsoft is offering free downloads of Windows 8 evaluation copies right now. It will not be possible to upgrade an evaluation copy to a fully licensed version.
Can My Computer Run Windows 8?
Most PCs that can run Windows Vista or Windows 7 should be able to handle Windows 8. Before installation, the Windows 8 Assistant utility will check all of your hardware and resources for compatibility; it will notify you of any potential problems or Windows 8 features that your hardware cannot support.
Below are the specs required to run the desktop version of Windows 8, which are exactly the same as for Windows 7:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (32-bit systems) or 2 gigabytes (64-bit systems)
- Hard disk space: 16 gigabytes (32-bit) or 20 gigabytes (64-bit)
- Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
These are quite modest, actually, so even if you're happily running XP, there's a very good chance you'll have plenty of RAM, disk space and horsepower to run Windows 8.
Can I Upgrade?
Only upgrades from Windows 7 will transfer all of your data files, user accounts, Windows settings and installed applications over to Windows 8. Vista-to-Windows 8 upgrades transfer settings and data files, while XP-to-Windows 8 upgrades transfer only data files. You will have to re-install application software after a Vista or XP upgrade, and re-configure your personal settings when upgrading from XP.
This can be a nuisance if your software was installed from a CD that you no longer have, or was downloaded from who-knows-where. You may also have to dig or beg for the license keys to avoid paying for the software again. A product such as Laplink PCmover can automate the process of moving all your software from one computer to another, and eliminate the need to reinstall.
Yes, But SHOULD I Upgrade?
There's a lot of confusion and skepticism in the air about Windows 8. The radical new user interface, which insists on forcing a touchscreen paradigm onto the familiar Windows environment, will present a learning curve challenge to many users. Most of them will be using computers that don't even have a touchscreen monitor. Microsoft's refusal to offer a "Just Give Me the Desktop" option in Windows 8 is baffling.
Or maybe not. Microsoft seems to be trying to create a unified user experience across the spectrum of smartphone, tablet, notebook and desktop Windows environments. Apple has been moving in this direction, making their desktop Mac OS X product more and more like the insanely popular iOS (iPhone/iPad) interface. The problem is that Microsoft is taking the boring, unpopular Windows Phone interface and awkwardly bolting it onto their wildly popular desktop product.
Another factor sure to cause confusion is the split between the desktop Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT for tablets. The tablet version (RT) will not run any existing Windows programs. All Windows software will have to be rewritten (and probably redesigned) to run on Windows RT. Yes, Microsoft is coming out with a Surface tablet that will run the desktop version of Windows 8. (See What is Microsoft Surface?) Other companies will of course be offering tablets that run either the standard Windows 8, or Windows RT. How will consumers tell the difference?
And as with any major operating system launch, we don't know if there will be hardware or software compatibility problems. We don't know if there will be security holes or other software bugs that need to be patched. Remember the Vista disaster?
One thing is certain... confusion in the Windows 8 world will be epidemic for at least several months following the October 26 release. My advice is to stay put at least until the first Windows 8 service pack comes out in 2013.
What's your take on Windows 8? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 28 Sep 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Windows 8 Pricing (Plus Other Confusing Facts and Rumors) (Posted: 28 Sep 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved