Microsoft will be starting a great offer where one can Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 . “Starting at general availability, if your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 in 131 markets“ . In fact you can format & do a clean install too via this Upgrade!
And then if you want you can also install Windows Media Center for free through the “add features” option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade.
Microsoft has simplified the upgrade experience by providing the Windows 8 upgrade assistant which will walk you through step-by-step from purchase, download to installation. You have to purchase it via Windows.com . The upgrade experience in Windows 8 will be a breeze, will be faster, a single upgrade path, and compatibility from prior versions of Windows. Provides the flexibility to download and control how you upgrade.
Microsoft in its Windows TeamBlog blog post has provided the screenshots of basic steps involved -
The upgrade assistant will first check your PC if its ready for Windows 8 then will provide a detailed compatibility report providing anything you may want to address before or after the upgrade with outline actions to take.
It will also inform you of any application or device compatibility issues. It will ask you what you want to keep from your current Windows installation. You will be able to upgrade from any consumer edition of Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro.
Current Operating System
What you can keep
Windows settings, personal files, and apps
Windows settings and personal files
Only personal files TWC
And if you want to start fresh, you can choose to bring nothing along. Or if you prefer to format your hard drive as part of your upgrade experience, you can do so as long as you boot from media and then format your hard drive from within the setup experience for installing Windows 8, not prior to it. And to add one more things for those running Windows 8 Release Preview -
“people can move from the Windows 8 Release Preview to Windows 8 Pro using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and will only have the options to migrate their personal files or keep nothing at all when upgrading. People moving from the Windows 8 Release Preview will need to make sure you have an underlying license for either Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7.”
Once the Upgrade is purchased, the download begins.The Upgrade Assistant has built-in Download Manager that allows you to pause and continue your download at any time as well as a check to ensure your download completes successfully.
Once the download is finished, you can choose to proceed with the upgrade (“Install now”) or install later either from your desktop or by creating your own media.
If you choose to create your own media, you will be able to create your own bootable USB or .ISO file which can be burned onto a DVD for upgrade and backup purposes. You also have the option of purchasing a backup DVD for $15 plus shipping and handling.
Also a packaged DVD version of the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will be available for $69.99 during this promotion in shops at a local stores but as said earlier online upgrade will be available in 131 markets and in 37 languages.
This upgrade will not be applicable if you are building your own PC or installing Windows 8 on a Virtual machine or a separate partition. For such scenarios there will be Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro System Builder Products available for purchase.
This upgrade promotion for Windows 8 Pro both online and at retail will be starting at General Availability and runs through January 31st, 2013.
As we can see Microsoft has started to share various install information so we can guess RTM is nearby and I guess Windows 8 might RTM soon in July-Aug while GA will be in Sep. Its just a guess, lets wait & see.