If you, dear reader, were fidding with the Windows 7 RTM package back in 2009 when the ISO leaked in July, you’ll be pleased to know that the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) for Windows 8 is due out in August, with Microsoft giving third-party manufacturers time to iron out everything with their machines before the release in October. Around this time in 2009, most people were buying new rigs and installing Windows 7 in preparation to buy the license when it came out, so if you’re figuring Windows 8 into your upgrade plans, you can use the Consumer Preview to get a pretty good idea of how things are going to go for you.
If you were planning on running the new OS from Redmond, pricing hasn’t yet been set for the retail editions of Windows 8 and 8 Pro, the two versions you’ll be able to grab off the shelf. There will also be a version equivalent to Home Basic and Starter for emerging markets (such as South Africa) but that will only be available on OEM installs with cheap laptops and netbooks.
If you’re running Windows 7, Microsoft has announced that they will be doing a limited-time offer to upgrade your desktop OS to Windows 8 for just $39.99. This means that, as per the requirements we looked at recently, you can jump straight from Windows XP SP3 to Windows 8 Professional for just a little under R350. Note that this means you’ll have to download the ISO, as the physical media only gives you options as to how you’d like to download and install the software. The upgrade packs therefore aren’t going to be the same as retail units, which will come with the full OS on the disc. This means that you’ll be able to get the same benefits as the Windows 7 Home Premium family pack that Microsoft flouted for $150 (approx R1200) back in 2009 when it was available on the Microsoft website, getting three Windows 8 Pro upgrades for $30 less.
For HTPC users, you can relax in the knowledge that Microsoft has promised a free download of the Windows Media Center pack from the Microsoft store. Microsoft originally wanted you to pay for this software as apparently not enough people use it to justify the license expense. If you’re moving up to 8 Pro, you’ll get it for free. Also in the Pro license are downgrade rights to Windows 7 Pro, allowing you to essentially pick up Windows 7 Pro for just $39.99.
The upgrade promotion will run from the launch in October until January 31 2013.
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