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Microsoft announced how much Windows 8.1 will cost consumers who opt to upgrade from previous Windows’ versions in the future. The upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1 is free for users who already purchased or upgraded to to the Pro Preview while waiting for the final release.  Windows 8.1 retail pricing is on par with what Windows 8 cost consumers in the beginning, albeit with no discount if you purchased a Windows 8 PC before its official release.

For those looking to buy Windows 8.1, it’ll essentially be the same price as Windows 8 with no price breaks or sales this time around.  Let’s take a look at how Microsoft breaks down the Windows 8.1 retail pricing and what this means for consumers at all levels of the Windows’ OS.  Whether you’re using Windows XP, Windows 7 or WIndows 8, there’s a way to get Windows 8.1 on your computer so long as the hardware can handle it.  For now, Windows XP consumers may have the biggest issues going from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 Retail Pricing

windows-8.1-retail-packaging

Windows 8.1 will be available for those who already have Windows 8 at midnight local time on October 17, 2013. For a brand new computer loaded with Windows 8.1 or to purchase the full version to upgrade to, it will be available the very next day for consumers.  This allows Windows 8 consumers to get a leg up on those looking to get it after its launch date.  Microsoft has made additional servers available and will allow consumers the chance to pause the download to help make it easier to start using it on your PC after its available.

In an interesting twist on how Microsoft has previously allowed customers to upgrade, you can no longer purchase a simple upgrade to Windows 8.1. They will only provide full versions of Windows 8.1 to consumers, because it doesn’t require them to have Windows 8 installed to use it. This means that you can outright buy Windows 8.1 as opposed to having Windows 8 installed to use it. For some, this can be a motivating factor to try out Windows 8.1; for others, it doesn’t really matter one way or another.

Here’s how the pricing breaks down for Windows 8.1:

Upgrade Price Notes
Windows 8 to 8.1 Free Available 10/17/2013
Windows 8.1/8.1 Pro $119.99/$199.99
Windows 8.1 Pro Pack $99.99 Available for Windows 8.1 license holders
Windows Media Center $9.99 Available for Windows 8.1 Pro license holders

For those looking to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, you will do so at regular retail pricing for the version you want. You will be able to bring your documents/files with you, but you will have to reinstall all programs and software on the PC after you upgrade.  Make sure you backup your files and data before you upgrade, just in case some going haywire during the process.

For those looking to upgrade from Windows XP or Windows Vista, Microsoft has this to say:

“Consumers still wanting to upgrade from Windows XP or Windows Vista should buy the retail DVD instead of using the download and boot from the DVD to do a clean install of Windows 8.1. Note: files, settings and programs will not transfer – Consumers will need to back up their files and settings, perform clean installation, and then reinstall their files, settings and programs.”

At this time, Windows XP and Windows Vista are not fully compatible with the way Windows 8.1 upgrades for users. Essentially, XP and Vista users will need to do a full clean install of Windows 8.1 to upgrade at this time.  This can be a big benefit for users.  Clean installs often help make even an older computer run faster and more efficiently than before.  If you’re using a Windows XP computer and haven’t upgrade the hardware for it, it also may be time to examine whether buying a Windows 8.1 PC is right for you.  The upgrade alone will most likely cost less than you originally paid for your Windows XP computer and will a big boost to performance, stability and overall efficiently.

Conclusion

We’ve covered Windows 8.1 extensively at TechNorms since the Pro Preview was released, and we’re excited to see what the finish product looks like in October 2013. You can learn more about everything Windows 8.1 with our guide to the final release here. In the meantime, are you looking forward to Windows 8.1? Let us know in the comments below!

  • TheUSMale2 says:

    windows 8 sucks! Done with Microsoft’s controlling nature, I’m using Linux Mint 15 from here on out! And yeah i’m going to miss some stuff but hell it’s time to take a stand!

    • Melissa Popp says:

      I’ve used Windows 8 since the day it came out. I use it for work, at home, pretty much for everything I do on a PC. While I understand where people are coming from, for me, it works like a charm and I’ve had few issues with it. Once I learned the keyboard shortcuts, using Windows 8 is a breeze, but it’s not for everyone.

  • There is one thing I don’t get in this article, and it might be because I am not native English, but here goes:

    “The upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1 is free for users who already purchased or upgraded to it.”

    “Windows 8.1 will be available for those who already have Windows 8 at midnight local time on October 17, 2013. ”

    I assume both mean that 8.1 is free for ALL users who have Win 8? As the first one sounds like your saying you either need to have upgraded to a win 8.1 preview or somehow bought 8.1 already.

    • Melissa Popp says:

      Nice catch, Dave! Windows 8.1 is available to everyone with Windows 8 already, and for those of us who were daring enough to “upgrade” to the Pro Preview. I’m going to go back in and change the language on that so it’s less confusing for our readers.