Windows 8

Get ready for your upgrade to Windows 8.1

If you are already using Windows 8, the free upgrade to 8.1 is a no-brainer - you want it.

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Microsoft Windows 8.1 is set to be released in October 2013 and we now know some of the details about upgrade paths and pricing. As Ed Bott reports over on sister-site ZDNet, Microsoft has once again changed the mix of products it is offering to consumers and also the terms of use for those products. For a deep analysis of what Microsoft has up its sleeve for Windows 8.1 you should read Ed's overview. For our purposes here, I will touch on just the highlights.

Upgrade paths

In a merciful simplification of the available choices, Microsoft has discontinued selling separate upgrade and full price editions. Each Windows 8.1 has a full license that you can use to upgrade an installed Windows 7 instance if you want or can perform a clean install. A previous licensed version of Windows is not required.

Only two retail choices

When you go to the store, whether it is online or brick and mortar, you have two choices:

  • Windows 8.1 (core) - $120
  • Windows 8.1 Pro - $200

The Pro version has the corporate network features and support for Hyper-V virtualization.

Already have Windows 8

If you already have a Windows 8 computer, you will be able to upgrade to 8.1 for free. If you are like me and have installed the Windows 8.1 Preview, you will also get the retail version of 8.1 for free.

Bottom line

Having used Windows 8.1 Preview, I can fully endorse the upgrade from Windows 8. While the differences between each version are often subtle, they are noticeable and address some of most often cited annoyances associated with Windows 8 since its initial release. If you are already using Windows 8, the free upgrade to 8.1 is a no-brainer - you want it.

If you are using Windows 7 on a computer without a touchscreen, there is really no compelling reason to upgrade now. However, when buying or building a new PC, there is also no compelling reason not to install Windows 8.1 instead of Windows 7. Despite what you may have heard, once you reach the Windows 8 Desktop, there is really not much difference from a user perspective between 7 and 8.

Also read:

Fact sheet: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Preview)

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

69 comments
PurplePerson
PurplePerson

"If you are like me and have installed the Windows 8.1 Preview, you will also get the retail version of 8.1 for free."


Eh, what? Can someone clarify what this means? Has he installed the preview using an existing Windows 8 key? He can't seriously mean that he has installed the Windows 8.1 preview using the standard product key (that everyone uses for the preview) and that this free preview version is going to be upgraded free, can he?

cityboy3
cityboy3

A lot of you laugh at Microsoft but I think Bill Gates get's the last laugh....don't be mad you fail to come up with it first

Tremujin
Tremujin

I might be a minority here but I like Win8 not really looking forward to the start orb coming back giving me a crutch again. It frustrated me a couple times at first but honestly I never used the start menu much short cut keys are easier and quicker it only ever really slowed me down diving into Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Device Manager why load all those Windows. The search on Win8 has pleasantly surprised me. I work as a network administrator and between Win-r/Win8 search/Win-x never really noticed or cared the orb wasn't there.

I will say a second monitor goes a long ways on Win8 I enjoy it much more with my other monitor setup now neither are touch forget that jazz.

Ron Manges
Ron Manges

Oh, an even bigger SUCK than 8!!!

Minh Tân
Minh Tân

Haizz i don't need to use one touch UI as Metro on desktop

Minh Tân
Minh Tân

I want to run android app on desktop. I hate metro ui

kburrows
kburrows

Everyone is KILLING Me with the flames and off topic comments!

Windows 8.1 is an improvement over 8.  If you do use Start8, there is a new version that will work with 8.1.  Once you use something like Start8, you basically have a Windows 7 shell in Windows 8.  I have been using this way since Windows 8 came out.  I think Windows 8, if setup correctly (BIG key) can function better than Windows 7.  It reboots in 20 seconds, I get less critical errors in the event viewer and when using touch, it is much more user friendly than any other OS (I have been using touch applications since Windows 98 and there is a significant difference.

If you aren't ready to move, there are still many Windows 7 options and you can upgrade as needed to Windows 8 or whatever version may be out at the time.  I still install Windows 7 in my business environments to reduce the learning curve.  Why anyone would still run Windows XP after April on any machine that will connect to the Internet will be amazing to me.  I won't support them after April, as I'm not willing to take that risk for someone to reverse engineer a security patch and make my network vulnerable.

Complaining won't do any good.  Can we give it a break and let's focus on helping everyone figure out how to make the best of what they have and make smart decisions as it applies to their network or needs?

Bob-El
Bob-El

Yeah, like that'll happen. I'd rather switch to a Macintosh. And that's not about to happen either.

mneenan
mneenan

If I wanted to buy a F@#*inf mac I would buy a mac- worst corporate decision since "new" coke.

Myrna Taylor
Myrna Taylor

I'm still trying to figure out Windows 7.

MadDogDr
MadDogDr

I certainly hope that the Win 8.1 upgrade solves the problems my wife is having with her college teaching endeavors. When she decided to take GCU up on their offer to teach, both in class and online, she said she needed a good laptop to work with, as her (and mine) desktop PCs are still clinging to XP Pro. I told her to get a laptop with Win 7, because I have been reading about all the problems that Win 8 has created. I also recommended a Lenovo Laptop, because of the higher ratings it carried with it, over the many other allegedly "Better" models out there, and also still has a Win 7 option.  She got in a hurry and jumped on a sale at Best Buy for a 17.3" HP Envy and it had Win 8 installed. Long story short, this fairly expensive and otherwise decent HP Laptop is worthless because she has to continue using her XP Pro workstation at home to perform various functions, because the Win 8 machine is not compatible with the GCU systems in place. Thanks again, Microsoft, for releasing another failed and problem ridden OS. With a 3 for 10 OS batting average, it's amazing that Microsoft is still in business, and instead of worrying about compatibility issues, they just muscle all their minions into forcing Win 8 on everybody through new machine sales. I'm eagerly awaiting the 8.1upgrade, to see if it will fix the issues my wife is having at the college. If not, it's going to be yet another Microsoft  created scrub and revert mission, back to Win 7, like I had advised in the first place. Thank God, I'm retired, after fighting with Microsoft issues since 1988, but the fight still lingers on, sadly. (A lament from an old hardware tech)

lbim
lbim

Strange place for those comments above. Any OS is a tool to me, not a religion. Don't like -  don't use it, that's all. Spend more money on something else and be happy. Place here comment with something valuable for other. BTW - I like Win8 already, more stable, more options, etc. It is obvious that young coders are by the console/keyboard. Yes, need some learning, but in my case it still doesn't hurts.

pbug56
pbug56

Is this guy schilling for Microsloth?  The Win 8 (aka Win Ape) desktop is pretty much neutered and useless.  Workarounds like Start 8 were messed up by 8.1 (as MS quietly promised those who asked) though they may be fixed.  The tile interface known as ANCIENT or ANTIQUE or CHIMPANZEE is useless to anyone who uses spreadsheets, Word docs, Outlook - oops - any one using MS Office, or having to get actual work done.  I own a license for 8 and won't install it; and yes, I tried 8 and 8.1.  Until if and when MS puts back a viable GUI for those who want it (a simple option to be set), I stick to 7.  I'm a former developer, and this GUI is the worst I've ever seen short of the New York State Affordable Care Act site.

cityboy3
cityboy3

All I can say is if you don't like Windows THAN DONT USE IT!!!..... Apple is way to high for their laptops, phones...IPHONE is a joke every 6 months dum ass's are paying $400-500 for a new one

carlsf
carlsf

I/we (115users) see no compelling reason to go there.

We already have 5 units and no one will use them.

Sorry we are a working company and nobody wants to use this lame dog of a UI.

Cant se any reason the to spent money on this product 


n2add
n2add

I haven't seen this explicitly answered in the Win 8.1 articles I have seen. Will I be able to download an ISO to install Win 8.1 using my existing Product Key for Win 8? I purchased Win 8 Pro when it was first released.

pa79th
pa79th

"...once you reach the desktop..."

That sounds ominous. 

Simon Fauteux
Simon Fauteux

I love the preview, new Start Screen tiles icon sizes! I cant fit more icon on my it, WIN!

kx4jr
kx4jr

Same question as dobbino...upgrading 8 to 8.1...Will I lose all the presently installed applications and have to reinstall (including data, etc.)?

Js Duale
Js Duale

Been using it for a 9 months now. It's great!

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

I give salute to Windows 8 for being so powerful, not just because the OS can run up to 16 terabytes of hard drive, can run 8 large monitors simultaneously and can not match even the most extreme processor available on the market today but because the OS even make the OS haters very8x sick.  Totally Sick of it.

dobbino
dobbino

I think that the Beta version required the re-installation of all programs. I trust this is not necessary with the proper upgrade?

Harliss Fortin
Harliss Fortin

Been using it for a couple of weeks now. It's great!

Josef Almorado
Josef Almorado

Windows 8 isn't bad. 8.1's start menu button is a joke though. I got used to pressing the windows button and hotkeys. It's pretty good once you get past the metro tiles.

Jon Lee
Jon Lee

and it still sucks,lol awaiting 9

Wales Nematollahi
Wales Nematollahi

My hopes are that I never have to use Windows 8.x, that Corel will write all its products for Linux and Mac, and that the wrold move away from Microsoft domination soon.

linda999
linda999

@rtroy56 So glad you mentioned these tile interfaces are useless to anyone who has to get actual work done (MS Office) ... truly painful for someone who is not a technician.  Skydrive was intuitive and easy/fast to use from my office using windows 7, but here on Win8 I spent half an hour trying to figure out how to share and move a file.  Its not intuitive.  And I bought it recently so have EQUAL time using it on both O/S's.   Plus links in email don't work ... have to copy and paste to a browser and I can't find anywhere (charms while I'm in outlook or in control panel --> if I'm lucky enough on a particular day to figure out where the *F* the control panel is to make setting changes to fix it.   AS YOU OBSERVED, Windows 7 is still much easier to use for people with WORK to do.  

Windows 8 is great for boot up speed though.  I'd call it overall a massive failure, and I wish I'd selected the MAC when I was at bestbuy. 

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

@kx4jr What I have experienced so far, everything is intact but by using ISO.  it depends on your choice,  but you have to reactivate your MS word if you have there installed.

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

@Andre Stenberg Windows 8 (any version), high cost of software thanks to death of Technet, and MS shove it down your throat attitude for many years = Linux. Already have it on my network and it does everything that most users need to do quite efficiently. Long live the Penguin! 

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

@Wayne Sleep See, if laughter is a best medicine then W8 gives you free best medicine.  Be thankful then it might lengthens your life.

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

@Wales Nematollahi Your hope will always be false if Corel doesn't know your concern, write then to Corel and ask for even a little hope.

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

@Dan Fraser Anyway, but not the best.

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

@Ian D. Samson You are right and I am making money of it.

DAS01
DAS01

@Ian D. Samson Why do you say that?  Won 8.1 is free to users of Win 8.

Whether Win 7 users should move on is moot.  Win 7's remaining supported life is several years long.  Even Vista will not wither until 2017.

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