Microsoft is set to roll out Windows 8.1 on October 18th, and while it’ll be a free upgrade for Windows 8 users, folks who want to buy a new license in the US will need to pay at least $119.99. Windows 8.1 Pro will sell for $199.99.

Those prices are pretty much the same as those for Windows 8.

Windows 8.1

Microsoft is also doing away with the “upgrade” and “system builder” editions. You don’t need an earlier version of Windows to install Windows 8.1. For $120 and up you get a full version of Windows either in a box or for download from the internet.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson reached out to say that there will still be system builder SKUs which. But they’ll come with limited licenses. Generally, now that the retail version of Windows includes a license for upgrades or clean installs, Microsoft expects most home users won’t have a use for the system builder version.

You’ll still be able to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 using the new installer — doing so will keep all your files intact. But you’ll need to re-install any software from your Windows 7 system.

Windows XP and Windows Vista users will need to perform a full install instead of an upgrade. That means your files, settings, and apps will be deleted — so make sure to backup anything you need before starting.

Most people probably won’t go through any of this though. They’ll get Windows 8.1 the way most people get a new version of Windows. It’ll come pre-installed on the next PC they buy.

In that case, if you want to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Pro you can do so buy paying $99.99. Or if you just want to add Windows Media Center, you can get that for $9.99.

Among other things, Windows 8.1 is designed to work better on tablets with screens smaller than 10 inches, it comes with Skype pre-loaded, allows you to run more than two “Modern” style apps side-by-side, and brings a Start Button back to the desktop view.

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8 replies on “Windows 8.1 to sell for $120 starting October 18th”

  1. Last year Microsoft released Windows 8 and offered a discounted price for about 3 months (October 2012 – January 2013) – I bought a copy of Windows 8 Pro for $40 and upgraded my 2-year old laptop from Windows 7. When they discontinued that offer, I was unwilling to spend $120-$200 to upgrade my desktop system. Now that Microsoft has announced their pricing on Windows 8.1, I’m still not going to be upgrading from Windows 7.

    Microsoft is going to be discontinuing support for Windows XP next year but 1/3 of the market is still using that operating system. While only 7% is using Windows 8. I can’t understand why Microsoft is missing the fact that many people are NOT going to be willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a new operating system (plus the cost of buying new or upgrading computer hardware) when they have systems that are adequate for their day-to-day needs right now.

    PC hardware sales are down and have been down for several years – hardware manufacturers did not receive the “bump” in sales that they expected (although that was probably not justified for) with the release of Windows 8. I doubt that Windows 8.1 will be any different…

    1. Well, XP has been around for well over a decade… there aren’t even Linux distros that can claim to be actively used that long (other than for nostalgia or running on very old hardware)… So it’s time, whether there are still hold outs or not to drop it…

      While for pricing, windows has traditionally kept pretty high pricing for the full retail version. Windows 7 Home Premium still has a retail pricing of $199, even the upgrade still goes over $110, for example.

      Mind, the pricing they’re giving are for only the full retail… they’re really not bothering with a upgrade offer… While, as loopyduck suggested, there’s always the option to get the OEM version for a discount… Harder to transfer to another system later but a lot cheaper than the full retail…

      Thing is the business is primarily set to push for consumers to also get new systems… The OEM’s pay far less than retail pricing and so the OS becomes a much smaller cost for those already upgrading to a new system.

      Part of the reason is because the retail edition needs to be boxed and stored, and there’s no guaranteed quantity sold. So retail pricing invariably goes much higher… Another factor is the high level of pirating of Windows, which is another reason why pricing tends to stay high to compensate the company for the losses.

      I agree, though, that the pricing needs to get lower but Windows 8 is best for new systems rather than upgrading old ones. Support for gestures, etc. and support for the latest new hardware features, etc. all make upgrading to Windows 8 to really only make sense when coupled with getting the latest hardware.

      More so than previous version of Windows, Windows 8 is really designed for systems that are only starting to come out now.

      While once you have Windows 8… all the upgrades should be free until 9 comes out… and the 8.1 update is just the first of what will be annual releases…

  2. Step 1: Buy Windows 8 System Builder full version copy from Amazon for $87.
    Step 2: Install Windows 8 over Windows 7, letting you keep everything.
    Step 3: Get Windows 8.1 update for free.

  3. Will the Pro version support NFS? The Pro version was supposed to be the upgrade path for Windows 7 Ultimate users but it lacked NFS support.

    Also, does 8.1 bring back a way to manage wired/wireless network locations? Does it let you manage past WiFi connections that aren’t currently in range? Does it connect to WiFi access points when they come into range while in Connected Standby?

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