In just about a week, Microsoft will officially launch its new Windows 8 operating system to the masses on October 26. This new OS is better optimized for touchscreen devices, like the Surface tablet, features a somewhat controversial Modern UI (formerly Metro), integration with Xbox Live, Windows Store apps, and plenty more. Unlike the past few OSes, Microsoft is only offering two versions of W8 for consumers to choose from: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. There is also a Windows 8 Enterprise version, but that is only available in large volumes for businesses. ARM-powered tablets will come pre-loaded with Windows RT, so that is the only option for those devices.
An upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will only set you back $39.99, with the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant making the process an easy task once October 26 rolls around. That lower price is only good until January 31, 2013, at which point it will increase. A DVD copy can be secured for $69.99, which you can pre-order now at a number of (r)etailers. For anyone who purchased (or will purchase) a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013, can upgrade to W8 Pro for $14.99. That deal starts on October 26 as well and goes until February 28, 2013.
If you're coming from Windows 7, everything from personal settings to personal files and apps can be brought along, Windows Vista users can bring settings and files, while XP users only get to bring personal files. Anyone is welcome to start fresh from scratch, of course, and have nothing brought over for an entirely clean install.
So there you have it. Nothing too extreme or expensive for anyone wanting to upgrade to Windows 8. Microsoft Surface tablets will be available on October 26 for anyone wanting to try out Windows RT, or you can go the other route and upgrade your desktop computer.