Windows

Take advantage of the $15 Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Offer

Greg Shultz shows us all of the steps involved in using the $15 upgrade offer to download Windows 8 Pro and burn it to a DVD.

Back in June of this year, Microsoft announced that they would be offering a $15 Windows 8 upgrade to anyone who purchased a new Windows 7 PC on or after June 2. And best of all, rather than having the program administered by the OEMs, this time Microsoft is handling the whole process themselves.

Well, back in August I purchased a new system and recently decided to investigate the $15 Windows 8 upgrade. While the procedure was fairly easy, there were a lot of steps and some uncertainty here and there. As such, I decided to document the entire procedure in an article so that anyone wanting to go this route will know exactly what to expect. In this post, I'll show you all of the steps involved in using the $15 upgrade offer to download Windows 8 Pro and burn it to a DVD.

Keep in mind that the upgrade program will run until January 31, 2013, so you have plenty of time.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Prerequisites

  • You must have purchased a new Windows 7 PC on or after June 2nd, 2012.
  • You will need to have the Windows 7 product key from the machine that you are upgrading. The numbers will be on a small Microsoft sticker on your PC.
  • You will want to have either a DVD burner or an empty 3GB USB flash drive in order to store the download.

The Upgrade Offer page

To begin the process, launch your browser and head on over to Microsoft's Windows 8 Upgrade Offer page. As you can see in Figure A, I have provided you with a direct link to the United States - English page. However, if you are from another country, just click the Change Location link at the top right. Otherwise, just click the Continue button.

Figure A

You'll start the process on the Windows 8 Upgrade Offer page.
When you get to the registration page, as shown in Figure B, you'll need to fill in the requested personal information as well as some basic information about your Windows 7 PC. As you can see, in addition to the PC brand and model number, you'll need to specify the date of purchase as well as the name of the retailer where you purchased the system.

Figure B

On the registration page you'll be prompted for personal as well as purchase information.

You'll then scroll down the page and will have to type the characters that you see in a blurry image in order to prove that you are a person and not an automated program. You'll then select a check box to agree to the terms of use and click the Continue button.

On the validation page, shown in Figure C, you'll first want to make note of the Reference ID number at the top of the page. (I've blurred the number in this screen shot.) Then, you need to enter the 25 character Windows 7 product key from the machine that you are upgrading. After you do, click the Continue button.

Figure C

Carefully enter your 25 character Windows 7 product key.
On the success page, shown in Figure D, you'll see the personal and purchase information that you entered. When you scroll down the page, you'll find information that informs you what will happen next. Basically, you'll need to wait a few moments for an e-mail message that includes your Promo Code. At this point, just click the Close button that appears at the bottom of the screen.

Figure D

On the success page, take note of your Registration ID code.

The e-mail

A few minutes after you click the Close button, you'll receive two email messages. The first one serves as your registration confirmation and includes your registration number (This is the same number as the Reference ID number you saw on the validation page.) The second email message, shown in Figure E, contains your Promo Code and a link to the Upgrade Assistant page. Make note of the Promo Code as you'll need it later on. To continue, click the Download Upgrade Assistant button.

Figure E

Take note of your Promo Code in the e-mail message.

The Upgrade Assistant

When you arrive at the Upgrade to Windows 8 page, shown in Figure F, you'll see the Download Upgrade Assistant button. You would think that if you know that your PC is compatible and ready for Windows 8 that there would be a way to bypass the Upgrade Assistant, but after reading through the information on the page, it seems that the only way to proceed is through the Upgrade Assistant.

Figure F

You'll really have no choice but to click the Download Upgrade Assistant button.
Clicking the button brings up a UAC. Once you work through the UAC, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, which runs in a wizard interface, immediately goes to work checking you applications and devices. The first two steps are illustrated in Figure G. As you can see, on my test system, 15 apps and devices are compatible with Windows 8 and that are 11 items for me to review.

Figure G

The first two steps in the wizard determine application and device compatibility.
Click the See compatibility link and you'll see a report similar to the one shown in Figure H. You can print this report or save it to your hard disk as and HTML document.

Figure H

You can print the Compatibility details report or save it to your hard disk as and HTML document.
When you close the report window and click Next, you'll be prompted to choose what you'll want to keep and the wizard will recommend which version of Windows 8 you should choose. However, this screen and the next are superfluous as the Windows 8 Upgrade Offer only allows you to download Windows 8 Pro. When you proceed, you'll be prompted to review your order, as shown in Figure I. As you can see this page lists the cost as $39.99 and gives you the option of ordering a DVD for an additional $14.99. You can ignore this price and disregard the DVD offer, as the promo code will reduce the cost and you'll be able to burn your own DVD in a moment.

Figure I

You can basically ignore this price and disregard the DVD offer.
When you click the Checkout button, you'll be prompted to fill in your billing address and select your payment method. These two steps are shown in Figure J. Note that in addition to using a credit card, you can use PayPal as your payment method.

Figure J

You can choose to pay by credit card or PayPal.
After you choose you payment method and click Next, you'll be able to enter your Promo Code. When you do, you'll see the discounted price appear. These two steps are shown in Figure K. To continue, just click the Buy button.

Figure K

After you enter your Promo Code, you'll see the discounted price.
You'll then see the Thanks for your order page, which contains your 25 character Windows 8 Product key, as shown in Figure L. Even though you will see it again, go ahead and make note of the Product key. If you wish, you can click the View Receipt link. The page that appears will contain a Print button, so you can have a hard copy if you wish. Microsoft will also send you a receipt via e-mail.

Figure L

The Thanks for your order page contains your 25 character Windows 8 Product key.

The download

As soon as you complete the purchase, the download will begin. For me, the download was estimated to be 1 hour, 38 minutes, and 42 seconds and it turned out to be a pretty accurate estimate. Once the download was complete, the Upgrade Assistant checked the download, and then prepared the files. These steps are illustrated in Figure M.

Figure M

My download took a little over an hour and a half.
Once the files were prepared, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, prompted me to choose how I wanted to install the new operating system. Rather than immediately beginning the install or saving the installation files on my desktop, I chose to create an ISO file to burn to a DVD, as illustrated in Figure N. As you can see, I could also have put Windows 8 on a USB flash drive. Call me old fashioned, but I just prefer to have a DVD for installing an operating system.

Figure N

I choose to save my Windows 8 download as and ISO file for a DVD.
After specifying a location on my hard disk to create the ISO file, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant created the ISO file, reminded me of the Product key, and prompted me to Open the DVD burner. However, I chose to click Finish. These steps are illustrated in Figure O.

Figure O

After the ISO file was created, I clicked the Finish button.

Burn the ISO to DVD

Burning the ISO to DVD in Windows 7 is an easy procedure with the built-in Windows Disc Image Burner. Just right-click on the ISO file and select the Burn disc image command from the context menu. When you see the Windows Disc Image Burner window, insert a DVD disc, and select the Verify disc after burning check box. Then click the Burn button. The burn operation will take a few minutes to complete. These steps are illustrated in Figure P.

Figure P

Windows 7's Windows Disc Image Burner makes it easy to convert the ISO file to DVD.

With the Windows 8 Pro safely burned to a DVD, I can later install it on my PC.

What's your take?

Will you take advantage of the $15 Windows 8 Upgrade Offer? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

Also read:

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

33 comments
d_ratner
d_ratner

Fantastic tutorial! Thanks much!

george50
george50

I'm an IT professional, one of my jobs is to recommend to my clients whether to upgrade OS or not.. I got the special windows 8 offer, installed it, tested it and I had to go back to Win7. Windows 8 is NOT a business OS at all, too hard to use on a regular computer, keyboard short cuts make no sense. It's actually made for tablets or touch screens, with a mouse???? forget it, My client employees will be crying Carpal Tunnel Syndrome faster than you can say it. It's such a shame that Microsoft has gone away from businesses... I guess I'm hoping for an Android solution......

fiosdave
fiosdave

I have a recently purchased Notebook with Windows 8 and would like to upgrade it to 8 Pro. How can I do this and what is the cost? Will I then be able to get the Media Pack, as well?

FortFun
FortFun

Greg, thanks for the step-by-step instructions on how to download the Windows 8 upgrade! Burned to DVD as I'm not sure I'm going to upgrade (love Win 7) but figured $15 was a good investment. Anyway, I discovered after burning the DVD there was still a link on my desktop called "Install Windows" with a path pointing to C:\Users\myname\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WebSetup\Sources. WebSetup has 851 files (80 folders) eating up 97.5 Mb. Question: What is this and do I need it? TIA

Skylark DuQuesne
Skylark DuQuesne

[quote]version of the software you got - thus Win 8 Pro is a different key series to Win 8, and the same would apply to the bit type as MS see Win 8 32 bit as a different version to Win 8 64 bit.[/quote] To: [u]Deadly Ernest[/u] 28th Dec Actually, when you buy Windows 8 Pro you receive both the x86 & the x64 DVD's; you use the same activation key for both DVD's. Maybe Win8 Pro will be available as single DVD's, an x86 & x64, but MS doesn't appear to be doing things the same as in the past at all. Ignoring the touch screen functions, I have found that the keyboard and mouse continue to work well with all Win8 Pro functions, as in past Ultimate versions. cu!

d_t_a
d_t_a

I'm just curious. On Figure L, Microsoft gives the Windows 8 Pro Product Key. Just wondering, is this product key only applicable (usable) to the PC which was used to purchase the product key? Or will it work instead on another PC? (eg. you decide not to upgrade the recently-purchased Windows 7 PC; but instead, you want to apply the Windows 8 Pro upgrade product key on an older system (eg. Vista or XP) -- or let's say you want to use a different bit version (eg. instead of 32-bit, using 64-bit -- if you're able to get a copy from say another download). (Is the given product key bit-specific? works only for 32-bit or only for 64-bit?)

lkarnis
lkarnis

Tried to go for the upgrade offer for a W7 ultrabook purchased in August, 2012. Entered in the details including date the notebook was purchased and was told I didn't qualify (no explanation why). Was given 5 general reasons as to why my request was rejected but none applied. So I called Microsoft. First person I spoke with took all my information (again) and then told me he couldn't help me. He then gave me a support reference number and then connected me to another person in Electronic Software Distribution support. Was connected right through and spoke with a helpful lady who - took all my information again! She then asked for 3 minutes to review my 'situation' with her boss, came back and asked for 3 more minutes, came back and asked for 3 more minutes and then said that she'd be able to 'resolve' my problem (note the problem was mine!). Was promised a promo code within 24hrs but received it in 1hr which is nice. All in all, I wasted about 1hr on Microsoft's support attempting to prove to them that I qualified for their offer (notebook purchased in Canada, in August, 2012, new with W7 pre-installed). I was never given an explanation why it took Microsoft 3+people and an hour of time to validate I was entitled to their $15 promo. Will give it a try and see what happens. In fairness to MS, I received a call back from their support person 2 hours after opening the support incident to verify I had received a W8 upgrade promo code

notaneer
notaneer

Hi Greg - if we just bought a Windows 7 upgrade disk after June 2 and not a PC are we out of luck with the WIndows 8 upgrade deal ? Thanks

bjswm
bjswm

I ran through this, and did the download on an XP computer. What I ended up with was the 32-bit version (quad-core 64-bit CPU, 8G memory) and no ISO and no option to create an ISO. There was NO option to choose 32 or 64 bit either. This was all kept very hidden by Microsoft with no indication until it was all too late. I have since found that lots of other people have been caught by this same trap. AND, there are no genuine ISOs anywhere available for download. Microsoft have stuffed this one up badly.

rjdbnet
rjdbnet

For $15, I'll give 8 a try on my desktop, if I can set up multiple boot, so I can get into 7 if 8 fumbles.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you purchased a Windows PC on or after June 2, 2012? Are you going to take advantage of the $15 upgrade to Windows 8?

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...correctly, then you don't need those leftover files. To test the DVD, insert it into the drive and Boot off of it. If Windows Setup launches, just cancel it,

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

it's different to the past. Sadly, that's NOT what's happening with the downloads down here, nor the preloaded vendor systems. PS - I prefer the D'lambert series to the DuQuesne one.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

version of the software you got - thus Win 8 Pro is a different key series to Win 8, and the same would apply to the bit type as MS see Win 8 32 bit as a different version to Win 8 64 bit.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...that you could use the Product Key to install Windows 8 on a different PC using the clean install method. See my article: The complete guide to a Windows 8 clean installation http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/the-complete-guide-to-a-windows-8-clean-installation/6881 As far as the 32-bit vs. 64-bit goes, I don't have a definitive answer. My first impression was that the bit version you ended up with would match the bit version of the system you used to run the Upgrade Assistant. For example, if you ran the Upgrade Assistant on a 32-bit version of Windows 7, you'd get a 32-bit version of Windows 8 or if you ran the Upgrade Assistant on a 64-bit version, you'd get a 64-bit version. Now, if that is indeed the case, you could run into a problem in the scenario you propose... i.e. you download a 64-bit version of Windows 8 and your old PC is a 32-bit system. I'll look around and see if I can get anymore detailed information...

jadkaizen
jadkaizen

Just looking at the amount of time spent and the cost of the W8 upgrade, I would say you got HOSED. Let's crunch some numbers, shall we? The W8 upgrade is $15.89 US (with tax according to Greg's article). You spent 1 hour on the phone with Microsoft just to prove you had a legitimate device with W7 and you were entitled to the W8 upgrade. That one hour was about the equivalent to $65.00 US (+/-) IT consulting fee of YOUR time. I would say that MS owes you $49.11. That doesn't inlcude any cell phone charges - if any. Alternatively, you could have just paid the $39.99 download fee, not spent an hour on the phone and still been ahead $25.01 ($65.00 - $39.99).

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

The $15.00 Upgrade is only for new computers loaded with 7

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...upgrading a new Windows 7 system to Windows 8. As such, you should have run the entire procedure on your Windows 7 system, not a Windows XP system. So not sure how or why the Upgrade Assistant allowed you to proceed. Unless, in the case of running it from Windows XP, the Upgrade Assistant provided you with an alternate option... just download Windows 8. Did you see all of the screens shown in the article starting at Figure H when you ran it from Windows XP?

jadkaizen
jadkaizen

Yeah, I was wondering about that. Greg glossed over the hardware issue and only mentioned that "....back in August I purchased a new system and recently decided to investigate the $15 Windows 8 upgrade" without going into the details regarding the system he used for the W8 upgrade. Bad techie. ;-) I guess it's fair to assume that if one purchased a new system after June 2012 that the system is 64-bit. So, does the Upgrade Assistant auto-magically detect which version is required for the hardware or, (forgive me if I missed something along the way), does that mean that W8 is not available or not compatible with 32-bit systems?

Slayer_
Slayer_

They have an alarmingly low success rate.

fiosdave
fiosdave

Now that I have this shiny new Notebook with Windows 8 and I would like to upgrade to Win8 Pro, does that mean I must DOWNGRADE to my previous version of Win7 Ultimate so I can UPGRADE to Win8 Pro for $15 instead of $70??? Sounds crazy to me! I just read the fine print and much to my dismay, if you upgrade to win8 Pro, you will LOSE the ability to download apps from your PC manufacturer! My Notebook is an HP Envy dv7 and has numerous (nice) HP apps. Looks like it may NOT be worth my while to upgrade to Win8 Pro.

fiosdave
fiosdave

In the future, please replace "boot off of it" with "Boot from it." You write nicely, but phrases such as that irk me, and I'm sure others, as well. Just a friendly criticism! David

FortFun
FortFun

Thanks Greg, I'll give it a try.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...gone into more detail on the system I was upgrading. I apologize for any inconvenience that omission caused. In any case, it is an ASUS CM1740 with an AMD A8-Series APU A6-3820 (2.5GHz), 8GB RAM and running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit. As for the 32-bit vs. 64-bit... It appears that if the Windows 7 product key that you entered on the Validation screen shown in Figure C is for a 32-bit version of Windows 7, then you'll end up with a 32-bit version of Windows 8. Likewise, if you enter a Windows 7 product key for a 64-bit version of Windows 7, then you'll end up with a 64-bit version of Windows 8. I started with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit and ended up with Windows 8 Pro 64-bit.

rjdbnet
rjdbnet

...makes life less stressful. Thanks very much. Your instructions are encouraging. After I back up, and back up again, I might give it a try!

FortFun
FortFun

on another machine and it allowed me to boot to the setup screen. So obviously those files aren't needed. Just gained 97 Mb of space. :)

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

which version it is with regard to x86 or x64. There are a multitude of other varying factors regarding Product ID Numbers and when/if they will work on a given installation package or media. However, since Vista anyway, same key works irrespective of the two. Greg, I think this very subject would be one of considerable interest for techs. There seems to be a great deal of confusion on the subject. Notably, the likely reasons for this are the copyright issues. That notwithstanding, there are exponentially valid reasons for us to be aware of these things. I would be willing to submit what I know of the subject to you if you desire. Even privately if you request such.

jadkaizen
jadkaizen

@Greg Shultz: Thanks for the follow-up Greg! No inconvenience - not for me anyway. Not yet. Just good to know the details about the hardware platform that was used for the upgrade. You know how us techies can be....detail oriented and frequently comparing hardware. ;-) So, the Upgrade Assistant can detect the previous Windows version installed on the system and then do a "1 for 1" type upgrade: W7 32-bit for W8 32-bit or W7 64-bit for W8 64-bit. Seems straightforward. Also, thanks for posting the links to the articles about dual boot. I think I'm going to give it a try. Problem for me is that I don't qualify for the $15.00 W8 upgrade. I have a "newer" system with W7 64-bit but it was purchased before June 2012. So, I guess I'll have to pay the $39.99? Lastly, @Hal 9000's point that he "...didn't think that the Product Key would work with both versions" is well noted. I find that a bit curious as well.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Thankfully I picked it up before returning it and did the reload so it went back with the 64 Bit OS running. I just didn't think that the Product Key would work with both versions. Col

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...situation to find yourself in. Are you plaining on downloading the Windows 8 Upgrade for this machine? I'd be very curious to see what # - bit version of Windows 8 you end up with.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I had a NB which came with Windows 7 Pro 64 Bit and when it was returned for repair the company loaded a OPK install of the 32 Bit Version of Windows. The same Product Key activated it. Col