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Microsoft reveals retail packaging and pricing for Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1

Didn’t you hear? Windows 8.1 is coming to consumers on October 18th, which is about one month away. Of course if you’re a developer with MSDN or TechNet subscription you’re probably already on it. It’s a pretty big deal, Windows 8.1 improves on the foundation laid by Windows 8 last year. Improvements are both technical and functional for end users.

It will be a free download for anyone on Windows 8. But some consumers will be picking up their installs via discs and so Microsoft has just released the packaging and pricing. Let’s check it out.

Windows 8.1

First impression of the packaging? Dull compared to last years for Windows 8. Today we get a look at three different boxes from Microsoft that correspond to specific versions of Windows. There’s your basic and pro version boxes, as well as a box for upgrading from basic to pro. You can check those out above.

Next up is pricing. Again, Windows 8.1 will be a free upgrade for anyone currently running Windows 8. But what about folks on something like Windows 7? Here’s how pricing breaks down this round:

  • Windows 8.1 - $119.99
  • Windows 8.1 Pro - $199.99
  • Windows 8.1 Pro Pack - $99.99 (this one allows you to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Pro)

You can grab the above as a download from Microsoft or as a retail packaged DVD product, which you saw above. So how will upgrading work this time around for people on Windows 7 and below?

Windows 7 users will be able to keep files, but will need to reinstall desktop applications

Windows XP and Vista users will need to do a clean installation. Back up your files, applications, etc in order to do the clean install. Speaking of which, Microsoft recommends getting the retail packaging and installing by booting from the DVD.

What do you think of the packaging? Planning on upgrading to Windows 8.1? Sound off below.

Source: Windows Blog

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Reader comments

Microsoft reveals retail packaging and pricing for Windows 8.1

117 Comments

I have it myself too, I just downloaded windows 8.1 and then upgraded to windows 8.1 pro using my windows 8 pro key in the get more features in control panel -system, worked a treat!!

Not consumers. The finalized build is only available to MSDN and OEMS at the moment. The only version consumers have access to is the preview, which wipes your desktop software and apps (but keeps your settings, files, and reinstalls store apps) when you upgrade to the finalized/rtm version.

All for just... Hooow much did you guess? Fiiive hundred, a thousand, even moore???? No!!! It's just $119 for Windows 8.1 and $199 for Windows 8.1 Pro.

I've got it, too. I'm not one screaming for the start button, since it does he same thing as the Windows key, but one thing handy is that it is on all here of mt screens, and whichever screen I hit the button on is where metro goes.

Now, if I ever start using metro.... ;-)

Not at my PC, but isn't it essentially he same as Win-x, but with shutdown on it (which alt-F4 gives you)?

Powershell and power options are added. Just like the hotspot it's actually available anywhere (as is the shortcut). Alt+F4 is only available on the Desktop, and if the Desktop has focus.

If you had a hybrid and used it as a tablet, then you could using it in a pure modern mode. The problem with most people is all they want to concentrate on is work, therefore only want to use it in desktop mode. This goes back to people not wanting to accept change, but once software makers outside of Microsoft with Office and adobe who has stated their next version will be sold strickly as a service, then there will be no need for the desktop at all. Microsoft is just ahead of the curve.

Am I reading it right that if you want to upgrade from Windows 7, the right time to do so is now, because if you upgrade to 8.1 you lose your applications? And spend more money for the privilege?

You have to do that if you install 8.0 as well. Unless 8.0 still has a sale going on, I don't think it will really matter if you upgrade now or when 8.1 is released. 8.1 is essentially a "Service Pack" its just packing a lot more updates to Windows than it used to.

8.1 is more than a service pack. Its more of an incremental upgrade (or exponential update) if you will. Yes, it is deployed SIMILAR to service packs, last I checked, but it is not actually called a service pack. It's more like OSx upgrades now, where each version goes up in a smaller number (#.X or #.#.X), making it more of an update than a new version, while still adding more features and changes than your average service pack.

I had to do a fresh install upgrading from XP also, but I copied the XP drive with Paragon first so it was easy to retrieve my files. Used dual boot the first few months on w8 when getting used to it, but now I'm only running W8. It's just so much faster and smoother than XP, startup time is reduced from about 4-5 min. on XP down to 32 sec on w8, that includes the time to enter the password...
It's just a lovely and magic OS once getting used to it, think that people complaining about it haven't tried hard enough to learn it.? I'm using it on my desktop and I think it works great even without a touch screen, miles ahead of w7 with every annoying warning popping up and XP with lacking support of many devices.
Recommended! :)

Very "Metro"! I like them. Although, not sure about the purple one. Don't really care, actually!

Few, I thought I was getting colorblind! But I don't exactly know which kind of purple it is, there are so many!

Same here. I would have bought it anyway. Anytime you can get an OS sub $100 go for it. Even if you hate it. I guess Vista was the exception but MS isn't doing away with their Win8 mindset anytime soon. I believe 9 will just be a better version of 8.1. My thoughts anyway.

I like the packing more than I did with W8 packings.

But I'm only upgrading to 8.1 on my Surface. My PC will keep the still superior, to me, for many reasons starting with language, Windows 7. I have no intention of having W8 or 8.1 or alikes in other machines either. Waiting for Windows 9.

That's not the biggest of my beefs with W8 (I even have a touch screen monitor on my tower PC).
Although I'm almost sure they'll fail to remove the desktop. Just look at 8.1. You'll be able to boot directly to desktop. So I don't know what leads you to think that apart from wishful thinking.

And since 8.1 reinforces the "powers" of desktop mode, you base that affirmation on...your wishes?

i was correcting Nik Rolls, and being half serious on the desktop thing. The desktop wont dissappear any time soon, but i do feel that by 9 (which, if MS keeps the new naming pattern, will be the 11th ver. of windows since 8.0, including 8.0, 9 years from 8.1's release) the desktop will appear drastically different.

I don't think there will be 10 versions of 8. They could just as easily stop at 8.3, or 8.5. They could even go to 8.15 as software versioning rules go, but that would create a branding issue.

Sure, 8.1 has 'more' desktop, but that was because of a backlash from users. It's in there until there's a better solution. With all software products, a major version change means a 'breaking' change in the software, and opportunity for a major overhaul. With Windows this also means a UI update. You can see that it 98/2000 > XP, XP > Vista, Vista > 7 (though not so much), 7 > 8. The full desktop wasn't removed in 8 because it's an intermediate OS; most software still runs on the desktop, therefore most users still need it too. Once most apps have a touch version (and/or are touch-friendly), it won't be as important.

9 gives another opportunity for a major UI change. Personally I don't think they'll 'remove' desktop. I feel that they'll instead merge the touch and the desktop UIs to be one again. But not desktop as you know it. It will be a touch UI with the power and flexibility of the desktop, capable of running desktop apps as touch apps, and potentially with more optional advanced windowing.

Oh contrare. I base my theory(? Lack of better word) on versioning on the current information.

FACT: 8.1 Is an "incremental upgrade", so to speak, that is deployed in a similar manner to a service pack (note: its NOT a service pack)
FACT: Microsoft offers ten years of support to windows 8
FACT(?): Microsoft wants to avoid another xp where three major versions later people are still using it
FACT: Microsoft has switched to a yearly upgrade cycle, with incremental versions (aka: major version updates) (X.1, X.2, etc...), while 9 would be a new version (9.x, 10.x, etc...)
HYPOTHETICAL FACT: If Microsoft avoided 8.11 naming, version skipping, etc.... 8 would have ten versions released within ten years, fitting perfectly within the Microsoft Support lifecycle for 8 (8.0 - 8.9 {0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9}), with 8.9 receiving an extra year support similar to service packs to give users time to upgrade to 9
in conclusion, I highly believe that Microsoft, based on the info I have found, mainly upon Microsoft's websites and here on wpcentral, that Microsoft will be using an upgrade cycle similar to OSx, releasing a "major version" (0.X is major, 0.0.X is minor) each year, with the support lifecycle for the OS as a whole lasting exactly the lifespan of the (OS New Version (X.0) )+ 1 year.

that was A: windows phone, and B: its based on a job listing, and was suggested that "9" was possibly blue, which is now called "8.1", meaning MS appeared to be playing around with the idea of naming it 9, and instead named it 8.1. that article doesnt prove your point, and at best it gives reasonable doubt for Windows Phpne, if i made the argument about Windows Phone. but i wasnt talking about Windows Phone. i was talking about windows 8.
 
but if you wanna get technical, Apple doesnt name iOS and OSx the same, so seeing as microsoft, so far, is moving to a similar update and distribution pattern (New version update once a year, updates distributed via disc and the app store), one could argue that Microsoft wont name the phone OS versions the same.
 
its a very possible, honestly, that Windows Phone 9 will appear well before Windows 9 ever does (W8.2 - WP9, W8.3 - W9.1, etc...)

Version numbers are entirely at the developer's discretion and changes in the major and minor version numbers are a marketing label more than anything else. Windows 7 and later internally report version 6.x because of the amount of stuff that broke when they changed the NT version number for Windows Vista. Windows 8.1 will report NT 6.3.
 
The final parts of Microsoft version numbers indicate what 'build' they've got to. This is usually generated by the change control system and there are different strategies, but they're usually derived from the date and the number of the build within that day. For released Windows versions, Microsoft usually increment the third part to some round number - Windows 8's is 9200 and 8.1 is 9600.
 
The marketing label can be significantly different from the actual changes depending on the impression marketers want to give to their customers. Nothing shows this more clearly than Microsoft's use of 'R2' and 'R3' for their server and embedded products. "Virtual Server 2005 R2" was basically just a service pack for Virtual Server 2005 - but it got the R2 label because Microsoft wanted to charge for the upgrade. Conversely, "Windows Server 2008 R2" is Windows 7 Server, while "Windows Server 2008" is Windows Vista Server - in my book, that's a major upgrade. Microsoft support policy for "R2" releases is that they have the same support end dates as the basic release, leading to the insane situation that "Windows Server 2008 R2" originally was slated to go out of support only three years after its release. That's no longer the case, but only because Windows Server 2008's support period was extended.
 
If Microsoft think they've made sufficient changes, they will change the major number. If they don't, they won't. I wouldn't expect to see Service Packs in future, though, at least not until Windows Runtime has reached reasonable parity with Win32 (i.e. you can do as much in a Store app as you can in a desktop application). Right now Microsoft need to keep iterating Windows Runtime quickly, and to get the new versions into customers' hands as quickly as they can, so they will keep using the 8.x label to make it seem as if there are no major changes.

Go ahead and take my desktop.  I have no need for it now that I've learned how to use W8.  People that complain about the lack of Windows 7-ness just need to know how to use two things: Windows key + X and Windows key + W.

Yes! Especially in 8.1, those are even better because they don't bring up the full screen start menu in the background.

Nop. Second best to XP. 8/8.1 still have to eat a lot of soup to reach both XP and 7. Sorry ;P

You could've got it for $15 though! Just need access to any W7 machine and get a clean install download (to install on your own PC). Or are you talking hardware?

Being able to get it cheap doesn't make it a better version of Windows. We're talking about OS. Software. XP>7>8.1>8.

XP #1? What a joke! I mean it's the easiest to use, but it won't be supported next year, the software is annoying and ugly, and just OLD! 7 and 8/8.1 are the best!

Calm down! Of course by todays standards XP is dated. But that doesn't mean it wasn't the most refined Windows experience to date. Windows 7 is a worthy successor of XP.
W8...it's a worthy successor of Vista. Yeah. I went there =P

Sorry, I misinterpreted your "still have to eat a lot of soup" comment. I thought you were referring to the cost of it / being unable to afford it.

I used to think XP was the best (I used it for 6-7 years on desktop, and still use it on my laptop), but when my office installed Vista I was plesantly surprised by how many annoyances in XP were fixed. I actually thought Vista was pretty good after all, but that was on new hardware and well after SP1 so all the kinks had been ironed out... Windows 7 has been the best by far and is such a joy to use.
So yeah, my ranking would be 7 > Vista > XP > 8. I think after 8.1 it could be 7 > 8.1 > Vista > XP but I haven't used it yet.

xp first ? i can't even stand the look and feel of it, xp days was horrible with apps stopped responding messages
8+8.1 > 7 > xp
 

Windows Vista was actually good you know.....ran it for 5 years on my hp desktop,never once crashed..... :)

I still think it ought to come packaged with a Logitech T650 touchpad. Without that addition, the box version will offer a much reduced experience for desktop PC users and will create a bad impression. With the T650 W8 suddenly makes sense and comes to life. Same will be true with W8.1.

Don't be ridiculous. I think W8 is fantastic and am looking forward to 8.1, but then I have a T650 and so get a great and yet ergonomic touch experience on my desktop PC. I understand why those who don't get the touch experience might wonder why they bothered upgrading from Win7 though, and wish everyone could have the great W8 experience I get. That was obvious from my post however, so I have to ask... are you trolling?

Poor show, that man!

No, it should came with the T620 Touch Mouse. I Love my touch mouse. It has turned my non touch screen laptop into a touch screen laptop! I can do all the navigation gestures!

The touch mice are very portable and much better than a non-touch W8 experience, but trust me when I say even they are a shadow of the experience you get with the T650 touch pad. That is one well made piece of kit and it makes W8 on a non-touch device.

WP 8.1 should've been released instead of GDR3. Not GDR3 when 8.1 for desktops comes out, then 4 months later, 8.1 WP. Anyways, I don't even have GDR2 on my stinking 920. *sigh

Glad I bought.... Oh wait. I have plenty of VL licenses and an MSDN subscription. Got 8.1 on my Surface and my desktop. Work laptop is still on W8. Not ready to upgrade just yet.

I put 8 on a laptop that was under powered...it works nice even without the touch screen. Looking forward to the upgrade!

Im running 8.1 on my desktop, ultrabook and surface. It run very well and so much more user friendly. The surface rt is amazing roll on wp8.1

Being using it since it became available on Technet. Very nice improvement, certainly made my job of implementing it easier. The subtle changes are sufficient to make the shift away from 7 to 8 a little less daunting.

Release it already. Will they be releasing the pro version in the store for existing Windows 8 users or some dumb watered down version?

The new search feature on 8.1 makes the upgrade so worthwhile, best search ever!! If your already using 8.1 you have probably seen it, if not you will enjoy a lot!!! Bada Bingggggggggg.......

Yes. But this time Microsoft also integrated the Upgrade edition into the retail pack for those who didn't buy the Windows 8 Upgrade edtions. So if you upgrade your PC from Windows 7 to 8.1, you can no longer keep your apps unless you can buy a Windows 8 upgrade, install the upgrade and upgrade again to 8.1.

I'm glad I was an early adaptor. Not only I get it for a lower price, now I'm getting a free upgrade to 8.1

I don't get kicks from desktop OSes, so will stay at W7. Mobile OSes are different story :)

They're really pushing this as something much more than a service pack, which come on guys, we all know deep down it's an SP at heart. I just hope the mass media does not confuse this as a "strategy" for Microsoft to squeeze another $120 for a ".1" version increment. I can easily imagine Microsoft-hating sites ignoring the fact that Windows 8 users upgrade for free and that this Windows 8.1 packaging will only replace Windows 8 packaging in retail outlets.

That's like calling out Apple for their ".1 version increments" and they CHARGE you for it lol at least we are getting it as a free update through the store.

and I also disagree with you, this is far more than a 'service pack' if you recall service packs often combine previously released updates and they also can include security and performance improvements and support for new types of hardware. If you know about 8.1 you know this is much more than that.

w.e I upgraded my home pc and laptop for 30$ each last year. Best 60$ ive spent yet lol

That's the point, I don't think Microsoft's updates are the same as Apple's. However, people who dislike Microsoft will make that comparison anyway and only look at the cost (Microsoft's $120 versus Apple's $20) when they attack Microsoft's strategy with 8.1.
How can this not be like a service pack? Do you recall Windows XP SP2? That was a massive overhaul that really positioned XP as a solid OS. It's just that this time around Microsoft has managed to get a lot more press and media attention by positioning what could have just been a solid SP as a marketable Windows upgrade.
I also bought the upgrade when it was offered at $30, it was an amazing deal. But that's not what Microsoft is asking for now so I don't know why bring that up now. I don't think Microsoft has a student upgrade deal either, which I remember was a great success with Windows 7.

I think we had a misunderstanding lol.

There you go again comparing a 20$ .1 update with a full fledge operating system windows 8.1 for 120$

Remember that 20$ update you MUST HAVE Mac OSX installed. Comparing orange to orange would be if Microsoft wanted to charge us 20$ for windows 8.1 for us who already have windows 8, get me? no? maybe lol

I just said that they're NOT the same thing. I don't think they are. I AM saying that people who do not understand the difference can possibly confuse them as comparable.

For the people that already have 8 its fine but I quite honestly don't see 8.1 flying off the shelves for those prices. I have a felling that they will sit on the store shelves along side Surface RT.

It doesnt need to fly off the shelf. W8 is already installed on more systems than all of OS X versions put together. (Source: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/09/windows-8-more-widely-used-than-os-x-ie-still-on-the-rise/
And all of these peole will automatically be updating to W8.1 for free. So you already has a strong enough user base without actually selling a single license for 8.1. Plus any new Sindows PC sold will have 8.1 installed on it.
I really dont think microsoft will have to worry about sales here.

It's understandable that there is no shortage of licenses sold, but MS should want it to fly off the shelf in the retail space...if the retail product is moving then there is likely some positive buzz about the product (which MS needs with Win8.x) - if there is some positive buzz about a moving product then the perception problem of Win8 "sucking" will probably fade away. Although there are more licenses out there than OSX, the perception is that OSX is very inexpensive to upgrade at $29 versus $99 for a media-bashed W8 OS.
I think they should have gone with $49 for 1 PC / $99 for 3 PCs.

I am using it since two weaks now. And it is really better than win 8. A lots of bug fixes and also that new start button. Eventhough that start button is not much of a start button which we have known from earlier windows but it is a handy tool woth some frequently used links there. 
 
I upgraded from Win 8 pro and all my apps were gone, only the personal files remained. 

Sure hope IE performance is better. It's dog shit slow rendering a lot of pages as of now and the touch function doesn't work very well on a lot of sites.

can't wait for the official free upgrade on windows 8 store, packaging boxes looks simple yet elegant

Hmm.. I got Windows 8 Pro for 49€ when it was new.
Btw, I hope that WP8 phones can upgrade to WP8.1.

Studio XPS
Intel core 2 duo 2.4ghz, 4gb ram, 512mb ati graphics
Used 2 fly on win 7, a little slow on win 8, but hell slow on win 8.1 preview, i just wish the reason is its beta and win8.1 improves my performance or sadly i will switch back to win7. it was the best....