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djbriandamage
10-07-2012, 07:23 PM
Microsoft recently announced (http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/07/02/upgrade-to-windows-8-pro-for-39-99.aspx) a $40 upgrade to Win8 Pro. This announcement is full of surprises:

You can upgrade for $40 from XP, Vista, or Win7
All but the lowest versions of Vista and 7 can be upgraded or replaced
XP and the bottom tiers of Vista and 7 can only be replaced but will retain your personal data

and most shocking of all...

You can even upgrade the free beta version for $40!


Note that Windows 8 Pro is the equivalent to what used to be called the Ultimate edition of Vista and Windows 7, with all the bells and whistles included.

$40 yo!!

My understanding is that you will have to have a prior version of Windows installed before you can install this upgrade, so if you want to wipe your drive and install from scratch you'll first have to take the time to install the older OS. This effectively doubles the installation time and hassle but at tremendous cost savings. If you own several versions of Windows it would likely be fastest to install XP.

If you don't own a previous version of Windows you can download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview version here (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download) (make sure to write down that product key!) and hang on to it for later. To be 100% clear, if you install this free beta version of Windows 8 you will be entitled to legally make use of the $40 upgrade, which Microsoft attributes as a thank-you payment to its beta testers. This beta will likely only be available for download until September or October so be sure to grab it ASAP!

Note that this is a single-PC license, so if you have multiple machines it will cost you $40 per PC.

What are you thoughts on this dramatic price reduction? Is this aggressive discount Microsoft's way to encourage its customers from turtling as they so stubbornly did with XP for over a decade? Is this an admission of lack of trust in their own popularity? Regardless of the reason, is this enough to encourage you to upgrade on day one? I know I will!

**EDIT**
I may have misspoken when I said you can upgrade for $40 from the beta version. I'll update when I can quote solid facts.

Tei
10-07-2012, 07:24 PM
"Upgrade".

Heliocentric
10-07-2012, 07:46 PM
I would have grabbed win 7 much earlier and maybe bothered with vista too. Looks like they are trying to dislodge xp users. Afterall, if people are used to win8 at home workplaces are more likely to upgrade.

Mistabashi
10-07-2012, 07:51 PM
Where are you getting the information that you can use this upgrade from the free Win8 beta? Nothing in the article suggests that (it certainly wouldn't make a lot of sense IMO).

As for my thoughts, I think it's intended to counter the large amount of negative feeling about the direction they've gone with Win8. As a desktop user, I certainly won't be upgrading because I don't want to be forced into using a UI that's clearly geared towards making it more suitable for tablets. Nothing I've seen of Metro looks appealing to me, and Win 7 does everything I need it to so I'll be sticking with it for the forseeable future.

djbriandamage
10-07-2012, 08:29 PM
Where are you getting the information that you can use this upgrade from the free Win8 beta? Nothing in the article suggests that (it certainly wouldn't make a lot of sense IMO).

I'd read it in so many places that I didn't realize it wasn't mentioned in that article. It's mentioned here (http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-confirms-windows-8-testers-to-get-40-upgrade-price-too-7000000409/) specifically.


As for my thoughts, I think it's intended to counter the large amount of negative feeling about the direction they've gone with Win8. As a desktop user, I certainly won't be upgrading because I don't want to be forced into using a UI that's clearly geared towards making it more suitable for tablets. Nothing I've seen of Metro looks appealing to me, and Win 7 does everything I need it to so I'll be sticking with it for the forseeable future.

Replace the word "tablets" with the hot topic du jour (mouse-driven GUI in Win3.0, Start menu replacing Program Manager in 95, embellished Luna UI in XP, 3D-accelerated Aero UI in Vista), and isn't this what everyone always says about every upcoming version of Windows?

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/10/30/

Grab the free beta and try it! The full screen Start menu is the only way to go. Do you really enjoy using a long, telescoping, hierarchical scrolling list in a tiny window? Or are you just used to it because you haven't tried an alternative? (hypothetical question to ask yourself - I don't mean to put you on the spot)

Jerusahat
10-07-2012, 08:37 PM
I think people are misunderstanding what Brandon LeBlanc was saying. Deep in the comments on the MS blog, he said


@willyggh - a previous version of Windows needs to be on your PC to upgrade. If you are on the Windows 8 Release Preview, you can upgrade via the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant but will only have the options to migrate your personal files or keep nothing at all when upgrading. You will need to make sure you have an underlying license for either Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 as well.


So what he's saying is you don't need to wipe your HD to swap from Release Preview to RTM, but you'll still need an older license to actually upgrade.

Mistabashi
10-07-2012, 08:42 PM
I'd read it in so many places that I didn't realize it wasn't mentioned in that article. It's mentioned here (http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-confirms-windows-8-testers-to-get-40-upgrade-price-too-7000000409/) specifically.

From the very page you linked:


"Computerworld got it right. Assuming the customer had a previous version of Windows installed before Release Preview, they’ll be able to upgrade from the Release Preview. They won’t need to reinstall the previous version to do the upgrade; they can just upgrade on top of the Release Preview."So you still need to have had either XP, Vista, or 7 installed prior to installing the upgrade.


...The full screen Start menu is the only way to go. Do you really enjoy using a long, telescoping, hierarchical scrolling list in a tiny window? Or are you just used to it because you haven't tried an alternative? (hypothetical question to ask yourself - I don't mean to put you on the spot)

Yes! I like a telescoping, heirarchical menu. Admittedly it could be improved, but it's far more functional than a screen full of boxes.

djbriandamage
10-07-2012, 08:46 PM
Oh hmm.. well this is getting contradictory and confusing. My sincerest apologies if I've mislead anyone. I hope it will be true that you can upgrade from the beta with no strings attached. I'll follow up with confirmation if I can find one.

FriendlyFire
10-07-2012, 08:54 PM
I wouldn't mind a fullscreen Start menu if it weren't for the fact that the current one is absurdly obnoxious. Too much space is wasted on nothing, which is fine when you need to tap them, not so much with a mouse. Searching for things brings up categorized views, but even with little to nothing on screen you still have to tap between the different categories to reach what you want (whereas the much smaller start menu had all categories with all items listed right away). The power options (shutdown, reboot, log off, etc.) are hidden in the most ridiculous spot possible. The Start screen doesn't even take advantage of the extra-large icons Vista introduced, making non-Metro applications look gimped in comparison.

The concept itself may very well work, but not with the current implementation.

Eric
10-07-2012, 09:21 PM
"Upgrade".

Some of us are still on Vista.

Finicky
11-07-2012, 05:36 PM
Apart from the beta "upgrade" it's not much of an deal at all, now is it.
You trade in your old license key so take that into account when comparing it to a standalone version of 100 euros (or whatever it costs), where you have two keys for two pcs.

Do they really make you install it over your old windows every time you want to reformat? What an asinine roundabout way of doing things is that?

Anyhow, I'm not interested in a two yearly refresh of windows, windows 7 will do fine for the next 5 years for me.

djbriandamage
11-07-2012, 06:09 PM
Apart from the beta "upgrade" it's not much of an deal at all, now is it.
You trade in your old license key so take that into account when comparing it to a standalone version of 100 euros (or whatever it costs), where you have two keys for two pcs.

You don't really trade in your license key because it's still available to you after you've upgraded. Isn't it? Your copy of Win7 or Vista wouldn't be invalidated by upgrading, I presume, but maybe I'm wrong.


Do they really make you install it over your old windows every time you want to reformat? What an asinine roundabout way of doing things is that?

It's awful and I fear it will really tick me off. I'm always tweaking and hacking and screwing things up and I rely on reinstalls more frequently than most. The money I save on the cheap upgrade might cost me triple in wasted time.

One option is to install the OS with your drivers and favourite applications and then keep a disk image. When it's time to reinstall you can just copy the disk image over and have a fresh new system in 10 minutes. This is how Dell and other companies do their system restore partitions.

Another option is that Win8 has a few "factory reset" options which (by their description) effectively do this for you from right inside the OS control panel. I haven't tried it but it sounds promising. It also sounds like an admission of instability so take it as you will.


Anyhow, I'm not interested in a two yearly refresh of windows, windows 7 will do fine for the next 5 years for me.

I think this is a very popular opinion and Microsoft will be lucky if they can convince a significant number of people to upgrade from Win7 after even 10 years. Win7 is great and the vast majority of people won't see a significant benefit stepping up to Win8.

On the other hand, I don't consider RPS' readership to be the average PC user. I think a lot of people here would benefit from Win8, but as the saying goes, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Finicky
11-07-2012, 10:25 PM
I'm more than willing to listen to your reasons for thinking people would benifit.
I've pretty much ignored win 8 since I first saw the OS.

Things that tick me off about win 7 is basic options being hidden far away in menu trees, DLNA set up being finicky, and constantly feeling like they made everything so idiot proof that it's more annoying/laborious to work with than XP ever was.

Pretty sure 2 out of 3 of those will end up being worse in win 8...

And every time I get a new windows they feel the need to move/reskin/rename/hide every single thing in the OS so it takes a year or more to get used to it again, that and there always being some shitty new bulletpoint feature they try to force on you (libraries ugh).

+I'm belgian and friends/family tend to put their windows install in dutch... trying to find anything on a new OS when it's all in different places AND named as poorly as MS names shit in dutch makes things even more painful.

Even if win 8 ends up being objectively better, they still owe me 200 euros for that abomination vista was at launch so I'm not keen on paying them any more money.

Mistabashi
11-07-2012, 10:28 PM
...that and there always being some shitty new bulletpoint feature they try to force on you (libraries ugh).

What's your beef with libraries? The way they're handled in Win7 is one of the few things that actually made it a worthwhile upgrade from Vista IMO.

FriendlyFire
11-07-2012, 11:53 PM
Win7 search made accessing configuration options trivial, much more so than XP ever could. Win8 keeps the functionality even if it's a tad more annoying as they don't all display at once.

DLNA setup is assuredly worse in XP than it is in 7.

The OS is only as obscure as you let it be. A few tweaks and it's a lot better than Windows "Fisher Price" XP.

soldant
12-07-2012, 01:47 AM
You don't really trade in your license key because it's still available to you after you've upgraded. Isn't it? Your copy of Win7 or Vista wouldn't be invalidated by upgrading, I presume, but maybe I'm wrong.
Your Win7 or whatever key will remain active since it grants you a license to use that piece of software. Upgrading won't take that away from you.


Another option is that Win8 has a few "factory reset" options which (by their description) effectively do this for you from right inside the OS control panel. I haven't tried it but it sounds promising. It also sounds like an admission of instability so take it as you will.
I never tested this feature with the RC but I'm guessing it's something like a restore point where it saves the user profile data and Metro apps while wiping everything else. Key point - it keeps Metro apps only.

EDIT: I thought I'd mention that there's also a cmd line tool recimg which will let you define the refresh state yourself, including any desktop apps (i.e. those that do not run in Metro). When the system refreshes it'll take that state and apply it, keeping those installed apps.


I think this is a very popular opinion and Microsoft will be lucky if they can convince a significant number of people to upgrade from Win7 after even 10 years. Win7 is great and the vast majority of people won't see a significant benefit stepping up to Win8.
It's true, but it's worth nothing that this is relatively new and probably comes about from that massive gap between Windows XP and 7. I'm sure you remember the 90s when we got a new version of Windows about every 2 years, with only a few that were massive jumps (3.1 -> 95, 98->XP (or 2000), XP->Vista) in terms of the core OS. Most others were welcome upgrades (or in the case of ME, unwelcome) that didn't radically change things but did improve things (Vista->Win7 is the most recent example).

So I think the "Win7 will do me for 5 years yet!" thing mostly comes from the fact that XP lasted for 6 years or something without any client desktop OS release, which was a massive anomaly. 5 years is a long time in tech. No doubt uptake will be slow thanks to the new Metro UI (which is what everyone complains about, I mean nobody complains about the vastly improved boot times) but in the end people will move.

Finicky
12-07-2012, 02:07 AM
Soldat are you saying you can keep your windows 7 install on one pc and use the upgrade on another?
I thought it was pretty clear what I implied... When you buy a standalone copy you keep your old os license and install that on a second pc (be it family pc, own spare or laptop), and if you buy an upgrade then I assume your upgrade shares the same license key and you can't run win 7 on one pc and win 8 on another, hence a standalone copy being worth more than an upgrade.

And sorry but the boot times are not a selling point for me...
Shaving 20seconds off booting up the pc once a day while I'm doing other things after pressing the button is not a selling point, it's not even an asterisk at the bottom of the list of changes to me.

And for me the 'it'll do me for another x years' is because I don't see a reason to pay another 100-200 (or even 40) dollars every other year for no good reason.
If win 7 was such a turd that it needed fixing and replacing within 2 years then I wouldn't have paid for it to begin with.

And yeah the metro UI looks ridiculous, designed for a tablet or console, not for a pc with a mouse and keyboard, that's why I was interested in hearing from the OP what features would make it worth switching then.

djbriandamage
12-07-2012, 03:49 PM
EDIT: I thought I'd mention that there's also a cmd line tool recimg which will let you define the refresh state yourself, including any desktop apps (i.e. those that do not run in Metro). When the system refreshes it'll take that state and apply it, keeping those installed apps.

Now THAT is super cool.


Soldat are you saying you can keep your windows 7 install on one pc and use the upgrade on another?
I thought it was pretty clear what I implied... When you buy a standalone copy you keep your old os license and install that on a second pc (be it family pc, own spare or laptop), and if you buy an upgrade then I assume your upgrade shares the same license key and you can't run win 7 on one pc and win 8 on another, hence a standalone copy being worth more than an upgrade.

I'm fairly sure you're incorrect about this. Even though the SKU is called "upgrade" your previous copy of Windows remains a fully operational standalone product. That's my assumption, anyway.



And yeah the metro UI looks ridiculous, designed for a tablet or console, not for a pc with a mouse and keyboard, that's why I was interested in hearing from the OP what features would make it worth switching then.

Don't worry about what it looks like. Yes, the screenshots look like a tablet OS, but the keyboard and mouse controls are always underlying.

I've tried 3 beta versions of Win8 now - the developer preview, the consumer preview, and the release preview. I went back to Win7 only because the hardware drivers weren't reliable at such an early stage, and I missed Win8 the moment I downgraded. Here's a short list of my favourite features:

The Start menu - It's fullscreen and easy to read, I can add or remove as many or as few icons as I want, I can optionally organize those apps into categories I create, I can search for apps by typing, and icons act as widgets which tell you info (unread emails, weather, song playing with play\pause button, etc) without having to open the full app. Windows should have had a fullscreen Start menu all along - it's the feature I miss most.

Metro - Its primary benefit is that the same simple apps can run on a PC, tablet, and smartphone. If you're only using it on PC it will probably be inferior to full-fledged desktop applications. You can remove all metro apps from the Start menu and never see them again, if you wish. I think Metro will only start to appear useful after the Surface tablet and Windows Phone 8 are released. I gave Metro a chance but ended up avoiding it, but if (aka when) I have a MS tablet or phone it will be hugely convenient to run the same apps on both disparate platforms.

Compatibility - Everything works. I tried about 30 Steam games, 2 or 3 GOG games, WoW, Dosbox, SCUMMVM, my DJ software (Traktor Pro 2) and hardware (Stanton SCS.3 System and Numark Mixtrack), 2 gamepads (Xbox and Logitech) and a joystick (Thrustmaster), my favourite open source freeware apps (Netmeter, Miranda IM, 7-Zip), and it all worked as expected.

Tiny tweaks everywhere - There are small incremental improvements all over the place, and the ones that stood out most are at the regular Windows keyboard and mouse-driven desktop. The new task manager (ctrl-shift-esc) lets you control and track lots of data about your PC usage. The file copy UI and algorithms are improved, it shows speed over time in a line graph, it allows you to temporarily pause disk operations in progress, starting a few consecutive file copies will consolidate all those commands into a single UI rather than opening multiple windows, and user prompts are suppressed until the end so that a 3 hour copy won't be paused all night because of a question about a 1kb file. I could go on and on.

It's Windows - It's not a martian thought puzzle requiring tentacles and a cloaca. It's a regular Windows desktop with a new way of organizing the Start menu. You do all your work on the desktop as you always did, and you hit the Start button whenever you need to spend 3 seconds choosing the next program to run. When you sit down in front of it you'll know what to do. The only new things to learn are how to use (or avoid) Metro, and how to use hot corners (dragging the mouse to the corners presents options, like a mouse-driven swipe motion).

Whether you should upgrade is up to you. The delta between Win7 and Win8 is similar to that between Vista and 7. I was horrified when I saw the first Win8 screenshots but actually using the software produced far more smiles than frowns. Would you have upgraded from Vista to 7 for $40?

Sorry for the long post, but you asked!

Jerusahat
12-07-2012, 04:06 PM
Compatibility - Everything works. I tried about 30 Steam games, 2 or 3 GOG games, WoW, Dosbox, SCUMMVM, my DJ software (Traktor Pro 2) and hardware (Stanton SCS.3 System and Numark Mixtrack), 2 gamepads (Xbox and Logitech) and a joystick (Thrustmaster), my favourite open source freeware apps (Netmeter, Miranda IM, 7-Zip), and it all worked as expected.

I posted on EG about this, but I had issues with Sims 3 (texture issues, needed Win 7 compat mode) and Sniper Elite v2 demo (crashes during intro video, no fix).

If you have either of these games, I'd be interested in knowing if you run into the same probs. I'm running a 560 gtx with the Win 8 drivers nVidia released.

djbriandamage
12-07-2012, 06:30 PM
I posted on EG about this, but I had issues with Sims 3 (texture issues, needed Win 7 compat mode) and Sniper Elite v2 demo (crashes during intro video, no fix).

If you have either of these games, I'd be interested in knowing if you run into the same probs. I'm running a 560 gtx with the Win 8 drivers nVidia released.

We own Sims 3 and nearly every expansion, but, as I'm sure you know, it takes an eternity and a half to install that DVD tower of babel. That's a game I tend not to install until I've settled in, but it will be one of the first I install when Win8 is launched.

I actually got so fed up with reinstalling those games that I ripped all the discs to ISO. It weighs in at 11 files (one per expansion we own) at 51GB! That is one whopper of a game. Installing from ISO is SOOOO much faster though! From disc it takes 2 minutes to copy over the game files and another 20 minutes to copy to 30,000 tiny localized user manual files. From ISO it takes maybe 4 minutes per disk (maybe an hour for all 11 expansions).

soldant
13-07-2012, 01:04 AM
Soldat are you saying you can keep your windows 7 install on one pc and use the upgrade on another?
It wasn't really clear what you were implying, but IIRC once the OS is upgraded the Win7 key's activation becomes 'free' in the sense that it isn't installed any more, the active key is the Win8 key. The point of an upgrade copy is that you must have an existing Windows install in order to install the new copy. When you get an upgrade, you should get a new license key.


And sorry but the boot times are not a selling point for me...
That's fine. The other performance improvements might be worth it though.


And for me the 'it'll do me for another x years' is because I don't see a reason to pay another 100-200 (or even 40) dollars every other year for no good reason.
If win 7 was such a turd that it needed fixing and replacing within 2 years then I wouldn't have paid for it to begin with.
The thing is that this kind of attitude ultimately leads to dead ends and slow advancement. The transition from XP to Vista was made that much more difficult by the massive gap between releases; Windows XP was released back in 2001, which was a very different time in tech compared to 2006 when Vista dropped, and even more different to today. Back in 2001, the vast majority of us were on single core processors and 1GB of RAM was considered ample. WinXP kept having things bolted onto it to wait until Longhorn (original plan) was out. In the end they settled for Vista, which freed us from the shackles of XP and paved the way for Win7 and future development. If Vista didn't come out before Win7, Win7 would have been just as terrible.

If you elect not to upgrade, that's entirely your choice, and if you're happy with that then by all means do so. But a new OS release allows the OS to better keep pace with developing technologies and harness them better than trying to take an OS released in 2001 and forcing it to do new things. It's one of the reasons things like DX11 only ever came out on Vista... and also one of the reasons why WinXP x64 is absolutely useless compared to Win7 (or even Vista!) x64.

David_Landriault
13-07-2012, 01:25 AM
It wasn't really clear what you were implying, but IIRC once the OS is upgraded the Win7 key's activation becomes 'free' in the sense that it isn't installed any more, the active key is the Win8 key. The point of an upgrade copy is that you must have an existing Windows install in order to install the new copy. When you get an upgrade, you should get a new license key.

That's fine. The other performance improvements might be worth it though.


The thing is that this kind of attitude ultimately leads to dead ends and slow advancement. The transition from XP to Vista was made that much more difficult by the massive gap between releases; Windows XP was released back in 2001, which was a very different time in tech compared to 2006 when Vista dropped, and even more different to today. Back in 2001, the vast majority of us were on single core processors and 1GB of RAM was considered ample. WinXP kept having things bolted onto it to wait until Longhorn (original plan) was out. In the end they settled for Vista, which freed us from the shackles of XP and paved the way for Win7 and future development. If Vista didn't come out before Win7, Win7 would have been just as terrible.

If you elect not to upgrade, that's entirely your choice, and if you're happy with that then by all means do so. But a new OS release allows the OS to better keep pace with developing technologies and harness them better than trying to take an OS released in 2001 and forcing it to do new things. It's one of the reasons things like DX11 only ever came out on Vista... and also one of the reasons why WinXP x64 is absolutely useless compared to Win7 (or even Vista!) x64.


Wow you really seam to know what your talking about.

Moraven
13-07-2012, 10:44 PM
Got Win7 Upgrade (came from XP) on release with the student discount at $20 (or $40).

Wonder if they realized people were not willing to pay $100+ for an upgrade. They they will be adding their App Store and taking a cut from there, they want more on Win8.