Pricing and Packaging for Windows 8.1

For consumers with Windows 8 devices today, Windows 8.1 will be a free update via an easy download from the Windows Store* starting on October 18th**. Windows 8.1 will be a must-have update for those devices – bringing new features and improvements such as greater personalization, Bing Smart Search, and more than 20 new and improved Microsoft apps and services. We are excited to be delivering such an important update to customers in just one month and nearly a year after launching Windows 8. However we also recognize there will be some folks who may want to upgrade devices running older versions of Windows to Windows 8.1. The information in this blog post is meant for those people.

Consumers who are not using a Windows 8 device will be able to buy Windows 8.1, either as a download from Windows.com or at your local store as a retail packaged DVD product. While pricing varies by market, in the U.S., Windows 8.1 will be available for $119.99 ERP (U.S.) and Windows 8.1 Pro will be available for $199.99 ERP (U.S.). The pricing and editions for Windows 8.1 are similar to what we have today for Windows 8.

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One shift to note in Windows 8.1 is that we will be offering “full version software” at retail and online for download that does not require a previous version of Windows in order to be installed. The copy of Windows 8 that is currently available for sale at retail and online is an “upgrade version.” This shift allows more flexibility for customers in specific technical scenarios and is in response to feedback we’ve received. It will be easier for those consumers who want to build PCs from scratch, run Windows 8.1 in Virtual Machine (VM) environments, or run Windows 8.1 on a second hard drive partition.

For non-Windows 8 devices, here is how upgrading to Windows 8.1 using the retail DVD and download software will work:

  • Windows 7: Consumers can upgrade a Windows 7 PC which will bring along all their files, but will require them to reinstall desktop apps including Microsoft Office.
  • Windows XP & Windows Vista: Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista. Although not designed or recommended for devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista, 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.

If you buy a device later this year that comes with the Windows 8.1 edition, you will be able to purchase the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack for $99.99 ERP (U.S.), which unlocks all of the great features unique to Pro, as well as Windows Media Center. If you are on Windows 8.1 Pro, you can buy Windows Media Center for $9.99 (U.S.).

If you are on the market for a new device today, I suggest taking advantage of our PC Selectorto find the right Windows 8 device that is perfect for you. And remember, you will be able to update your device to Windows 8.1 for free through the Windows Store.

Windows 8.1 evolves Windows 8, bringing the latest advancements in hardware, apps and services and the OS to enable a unique experience in everything you do.

More to come on Windows 8.1 including new devices and retail offers as we near October 18th!

* Internet access required; fees may apply.
** Starting at 12:00am on October 18th in New Zealand (that’s 4:00am October 17th in Redmond).