If you happen to run any version of Microsoft Windows prior to Windows 8 (XP, Vista or Windows 7), 32-bit or 64-bit, even if it was pirated, Microsoft is offering an extremely cheap way to upgrade to a full, legal version of Windows 8 for $15. Technically, the upgrade cost is $40, but if you happened to purchase your PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013, then Microsoft will let you upgrade for just $15. Usually, an upgrade to a newer version of Microsoft OS costs between $50 to $150, while a full version can cost up to several hundred US dollars. With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft wants to move more people away from its outdated Windows XP and Vista operating systems and it wants to make the OS affordable to move up to for a limited amount of time.
If you own a photography business, I would encourage you to stay away from pirated software period – it could cost your business and potentially put you in jail. I have two PCs that I upgraded from Windows 7 Pro 64-bit to Windows 8 Pro 64-bit. One PC was an older machine, so I could only upgrade it with the $40 upgrade promotion. A newer PC that I bought this summer though already had Windows 7, so I was able to purchase Windows 8 Pro for just $15 for that one.
I am not here to advertise or promote Windows 8. I have been using Windows 7 for a while now and I cannot complain. After upgrading to Windows 8, I can say that it is different. At first, I hated the fact that Microsoft got rid of the Start menu. But after using it for a couple of weeks now, I got used to it and I actually like it. If you really love the classic start menu, you can always go back to it using such free utilities as Classic Shell. Personally, I welcome the new changes. While the new “Start” window seems to be applicable to tablet devices only, it actually works quite nicely once you use it a little bit.
All photography software that I have seems to work perfectly fine on Windows 8. Lightroom 4.3, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and third party plugins all work as expected. I did not even have to install any motherboard drivers – Windows 8 recognized everything, including my Wacom tablet (although I did install the proper drivers for it later on).
If you decide to upgrade to Windows 8, here is what you need to do:
Upgrade for $15 Offer
If you are interested in upgrading for $15, you have to first head over to the Upgrade Offer page. Fill out the form that looks like this:
Once you complete the form, wait for 5-10 minutes and you will get an email with a $25 Promo Code, which you will apply in the steps below.
Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant
The next step is to use the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, which can be downloaded from here. Do this on the PC that you want to upgrade. The upgrade assistant will run through some steps to determine what is compatible and what is not:
Next, choose if you want to keep any settings or do a clean install:
If you do not want to reinstall all programs and start over, then pick the first option. If you do not care about programs and only want to keep your personal files, then choose the second option. I chose “Nothing”, because I prefer to do a clean install – I start fresh that way and only install what I need. Plus, too much junk accumulated on my PC over the last couple of years, slowing my machine down and I did not want any of it. Either way, make sure to back up your machine fully before you start the full upgrade.
The next screen will summarize what you can upgrade to:
Click the “Order” button, which will present you with another screen that asks if you only want digital download, or if you want to order the DVD for $14.99. I did not bother with the DVD, because the upgrade assistant will download an ISO file that you can burn to a DVD. Click the Checkout button now.
Next, you will be prompted to put in your name, address, credit card information, etc. Fill out the form and you will be presented with the “Confirm Your Order” page. Within the page, you will see a field where you can put in the Promo Code. Check your email, by now, there should be an email from Microsoft with your Promo Code. Put the code and hit Apply. Now you can see that the total on the bottom went down to $14.99. Agree to the terms and click “Buy” and the next page will show your upgrade license key. Copy the license key and print it out – you will need it during the install. You should also receive an email with the license key.
After this page, Windows 8 Pro will start to download. Once the download is complete, you will be given the option to install or save the ISO file. Save the ISO file, burn it to a DVD and you are ready to go. Make sure that a prior version of Windows is installed on your computer. Once again, the installer will not be checking your existing license key – you can upgrade from any prior version of Windows, as long as it is pre-installed on the PC. For those who want to start clean, just delete the partition during the upgrade process and create a new one. This will ensure that you are starting out clean. Do not format the drive or delete the partition before you start the upgrade process, or the license key will not work, telling you that it is only meant to be used as an upgrade.
By the way, I believe this Microsoft promotion will end at the end of January, 2013, so you have about a little over a month to take advantage of this offer.