Windows 8: Upgrading, downgrading and pricing (part 1)

Most consumer PCs are sold with the base Windows 8 edition. This is the most economical time to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro.

Microsoft’s sales lifecycle for Windows (which is different from its support lifecycle) specifies that retailers will be able to sell the boxed version of Windows 7 until at least October 25. 2013, and OEMs can sell PCs with Windows 7 pre-loaded until October 25, 2014.

Retail upgrades of Windows 8 have a limited warranty of one year. On OEM PCs, Windows has a limited warranty of 90 days supported by the PC maker.


Your PC qualifies for an upgrade if it has a valid license for Windows XP, Vista, or 7. If the PC came with any edition of Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 and has a certificate of authenticity sticker affixed to it, it’s eligible for a discounted upgrade. From October 26, 2012, through January 31, 2013, the upgrade price for Windows 8 Pro, purchased directly as a download from Microsoft, is $40. That price includes a separate download of the Media Center Pack, which will subsequently be a separate purchase.)

If you purchase the software separately, in a package or as a download, the rules are much more liberal. You can remove the Windows 8 upgrade from an original PC and then install it on another PC, assuming the new PC has a license that qualifies it for an upgrade. Likewise, you can completely remove the PUL System Builder software from a self-built PC, a VM, or a partition and then install it in a new physical or virtual PC.

Switching Bits:

With a valid license, you may use either 32- or 64-bit Windows, but you may install only one of those versions. If you switch from a factory 64-bit installation to a 32-bit version installing the 32-bit version of Windows 8 on a system requires a change to the BIOS settings to legacy BIOS mode. If you switch back to the 64-bit version of Windows 8 from the 32-bit version of Windows 8, you should revert back to the original BIOS settings. If you do not revert back to these BIOS settings when switching back to the 64-bit version, the following Windows 8 functionalities will not work as they rely on UEFI mode boot:

  • Secure Boot
  • Seamless Boot experience
  • Network unlock for Bitlocker for computer with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
  • eDrive support.

As a remnder, like Windows 7, you can’t go from 32-bit to 64-bit [and the unlikely opposite direction] directly. You need to wipe the partition first.

More to come in the next post [ ].


About ebraiter
computer guy

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