Just over a year after first introducing Windows 8 and Windows RT to the press at their BUILD conference, the run-up to the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT has reached its end. In what’s certain to be the most significant Windows release for Microsoft since Windows Vista – and likely also the most polarizing – Windows 8 and Windows RT are officially being released to the public today. With this launch Microsoft is looking to make their mark on the surge in popularity in tablets over the last couple of years, while leaving another mark on their users with the most significant UI overhaul since Windows 95.

For users looking to jump into Windows 8 and Windows RT, there will be several ways to get it. First and foremost of course is to buy a new device – be it a PC or a tablet – with Windows preinstalled. All of Microsoft’s major retail partners will have swapped out their Windows 7 system inventory for Windows 8 inventory, and will begin selling systems pre-loaded with Windows 8/RT today.

On that note, a few of Micrsoft’s retail partners will have various Windows 8 promotions going on. The highlight of which will almost certainly be Intel’s: “Trade In/Trade Up– Bring in a working laptop (any PC as long as it can power on) and get at least $100 towards a new Intel-Inspired Ultrabook.” We don’t have any additional information on this offer at this time, so be sure to check Microsoft’s website for more details.

Windows 8 SKUs
  Windows 8 Upgrade Windows 7/Vista/XP Upgrade Full Version Price
Windows 8 Pro Pack X - - $69
Windows 8 Pro Upgrade (Boxed) - X - $69
Windows 8 Pro Upgrade (Download) - X - $39
Windows 8 (Core) OEM - - X $99
Windows 8 Professional OEM - - X $139

Meanwhile for those of you partaking in self-installs, Microsoft’s promotional pricing for Windows 8 upgrades will be continuing until January 31st of 2013. To that end, the previously mentioned pre-orders have already begun shipping from some e-tailers for delivery today. This goes for both the upgrade and full editions. Retailers will also start selling boxed copies of the upgrade editions of Windows 8, while specialty retailers (e.g. Microcenter) are also expected to be carrying full editions.

Of course the real option just about everyone has been waiting for is the download option directly through Microsoft, which should be active by the time this post goes live. Microsoft will be selling Windows 8 Pro upgrades for $39.99, some $30 (43%) below the retail boxed price. Furthermore Microsoft has put up a handy upgrade FAQ that spells out just how the process is working; the downloadable upgrade will be a purchase available in Microsoft’s upgrade assistant, with the assistant being responsible for downloading and running the Windows installer.

Importantly, the assistant has the option to back up the Windows installer to either a USB drive or an ISO, so it will be possible to keep the installer for future re-use (reformats and the like). Also of note, the $15 upgrade offer for recent PC buyers will work the same way, with buyers effectively getting the same upgrade package at a cheaper price.

All Windows 8 buyers will also want to pay attention to Microsoft’s free Windows Pro Media Center Pack option. As you may recall, Microsoft is stripping out Windows’ built-in DVD playback and Media Center functionality from Windows 8, and placing it in to a separate Media Center Pack. In order to ease the transition, as part of their promotional pricing Microsoft will be giving away the Media Center Pack for free until the end of January, so Windows 8 Pro users will want to be sure to hop on that offer before it expires.

Finally, for our coverage of Windows 8/RT, we have broken it up into several pieces. For Windows RT coverage we have reviews of Microsoft’s Surface, their in-house ARM-based tablet, along with Asus’s VivoTab RT. We also have a dedicated Windows RT review that focuses on the complete Windows RT experience from a tablet perspective. Meanwhile for Windows 8 and the x86 laptop/desktop experience, we will have our traditional performance guide up later today, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

Source: Microsoft

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  • Kepe - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    You can get the Win8 Pro upgrade for 15 € if you have a legal copy of Win7 by going to windowsupgradeoffer.com, or for 30 € if you have (an illegal copy of) XP/Vista/7 by using the Win8 Upgrade Assistant.

    If you want the 15 € (I don't know how many dollars that might be, 20 bucks perhaps?) upgrade, it doesn't matter how old or new your computer is. You can just lie about the age of your machine, where you bought it and what the make and model are. As long as you just set the buying date to later than June 2nd 2012. They don't have any means to check it, they just send you the discount code. I told them my computer is "Asus P8Z77-VLK", which is just the motherboard I have.

    A friend of mine tested the Upgrade Assistant with a cracked copy of 7, and it offered a 30€ upgrade to Win8 Pro for him.

    I'm downloading Win8 now, can't wait to get to install it. Paid the 15 euros for it. Not bad :p
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I didn't know integrity was selling for so cheap these days.

    I'm sure your post about how to acquire software illegally (aka, piracy) will soon be deleted.
  • slyck - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Hmm. Well Microsoft is as crooked a company as they come. Whats goes around...
  • whatthehey - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    If MS is willing to let you upgrade for 15/30 Euro and they don't put effort into checking things out, it's their problem I suppose. I doubt the big OEMs pay more than 15 Euro for the OS on the systems they ship, so MS is basically getting more than the nothing a pirate would normally pay. But yeah, if you're willing to lie just to get $15 or whatever, that's your call.
  • BallBond - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    what Kim answered I'm startled that some people able to get paid $6487 in a few weeks on the computer. did you look this(Click on menu Home more information)
  • Sivar - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    That may have been an argument in the 90's, but not so much now.

    Either way, the only party making an unethical transaction in this case is the one lying to get a new, innovative, possibly frustrating product at a price intended for people who haven't had much use yet out of their legal license.
  • LaMpiR - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    It's an upgrade anyway from downloading cracked version. I'm a student and my university is offering win 8 for 21 euro. I simply don't want to upgrade but I want to have a clean install on my pc.
  • rallyhard - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    FWIW, the OP's comment is now not entirely accurate.

    They just put the kebosh on the $15 upgrade offer for illegitimate upgraders here:


    I hope they don't block this comment for including a link, hah!

    Good day.
  • KaarlisK - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I bought a computer expecting to put retail Windows 8 on it. However, as of now, there seems to be no retail Windows 8. Especially in EU.
  • GL1zdA - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Microsoft changed its licensing with Windows 8. Now you can install OEM copies on self-built PCs:

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