According to Microsoft’s Blogging Windows website, a special offer is available to those of us who currently own older versions of its software. This special offer extends to not only to those of us who are using Vista or Windows 7, but is also being extended to users of Windows XP. This special offer, according to the site, states that between the time that Windows 8 is released, for purchase, and January 1, 2013, users of previous Windows versions can upgrade to the Pro version for a mere $39.99. What wasn’t stated in the announcement was when the consumer could expect Windows 8 to hit the marketplace.
I know, I know, you must be thinking that this guy is confused or suffering from dementia, but I’m really not. However, I, too, had to read it several times to confirm I was reading the pricing and availability correctly. As I continued to read through the offer I was also surprised to see that, in addition, to taking this offer at face value, if you do choose the upgrade path, Microsoft is also going to allow you to download and install Media Center for free. This sounds like an incredible offer and I can’t recall any previous upgrades — from one version of Windows to another — being offered at such a low price.
Surprisingly, this offer is basically gimmick free, which means that with the $39.99 offer you will have the opportunity to download a version of Windows 8 Pro, including the option to burn the ISO image to a DVD. Included in the price is a download assistant that will take you through the upgrade steps. However, if you wish to have a permanent DVD installation disk mailed to you, there is an additional $15 charge for shipping and handling.
Limitations of the Upgrade
- For those upgrading from Windows 7, the upgrade will save Windows settings, personal files, and applications.
- For those upgrading from Windows Vista, the upgrade process will maintain Windows settings and personal files, but not applications.
- For those upgrading from Windows XP, only personal files will be transferred.
When I first read that the upgrade process was going to include users of Windows XP, I thought to myself, “no way.” My thoughts were that most Windows XP boxes couldn’t support Windows Vista or Windows 7, so how could they support Windows 8 Pro? What I failed to consider was that when Microsoft came out with Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft allowed OEM boxes to be installed with Windows XP for those users who wished to have the older version of Windows. I remembered this while I was going through my invoices, and recalled that several months ago I had worked on a system with a dual-core CPU and 4 GB of memory that was running Windows XP. The reason was simple. The owner didn’t want to learn, or train his employees, on another new operating system and had therefore opted to have Dell install Windows XP on the business box. Because he has a newer and better computer, upgrading to Windows 8 Pro should not be a problem.
However, if you have an older Windows XP machine like I do (it’s an eight-year-old Gateway laptop), I wouldn’t recommend the upgrade. This old laptop struggles using Windows XP and I know that, even after a clean install of the OS, if I installed Windows 8 Pro it would be slower than a snail in winter. Specifics for this machine include a measly 512 MB of RAM and a single-core 1.2 MHz CPU. I only keep this particular unit around for use by the grandkids so that they can play online games when they visit.
Why is Microsoft Making This Low-priced Offer?
There will be two distinct levels of thought as to what is motivating Microsoft to make this special, low-priced offer. First, we have the anti-Microsoft crowd who will state that:
- Microsoft already knows that Windows 8 will be a bow-wow.
- Microsoft has alienated its OEM partners by announcing its own Microsoft-branded tablet computers.
- HP, the largest PC maker, has already stated that the company will not be offering an RT (ARM-powered) tablet, which shows a lack of confidence on HP’s part.
- If one owns a non-touch computer system, requiring the user to manipulate the screens via a mouse or keyboard makes navigating through Metro a real pain.
- Users are comfortable with Windows 7 and are thankful that Microsoft finally got it right after the disaster known as Vista failed to gain consumer approval.
- Those in the know would only buy a Mac.
Second, we have the Microsoft fanboys who will state:
- Windows 8 will be the best Windows ever.
- It is time for a change and Metro is an improvement.
- Metro is easy to use and you still get Windows 7 included.
- It’s the ability to add various applications that will set the new OS up for success and make it a competitor in the marketplace.
- The new OS gives you the ability to choose either an RT or an Intel interface. It doesn’t get any better than this.
- Microsoft will eat Apple iPads for lunch.
No matter which side of the fence you are on, no one can deny that Microsoft is making this a juicy offer that could end up leaving the company with a sweet taste in its mouth when all is said and done. However, even here, anyone who is observant cannot help but admit that Microsoft’s improvements and better price point are probably directly related to the competition Apple has provided in the computer market place. This same competitive spirit is now extended to both Google with its Android OS and new Nexus 7, both of which will add additional pressure to companies to lower prices and produce products with better hardware.
For us, the consumers, that should mean that whether we choose a tablet or the traditional PC, the competition in the electronics arena should continue to improve the products we see at lower prices as time moves onward.
What do you think?
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by comedy_nose