Microsoft has confirmed the price of its upcoming Windows 8.1 operating system a month before the official release.
In the U.S., Windows 8.1 will be available to current Windows 8 customers as a free download from Oct. 18 onwards. Customers can download the latest operating system from Microsoft Store. However, customers using other versions of Windows operating system will have to buy Windows 8.1.
"Consumers who are not using a Windows 8 device will be able to buy Windows 8.1, either as a download from Windows.com or at your local store as a retail packaged DVD product. While pricing varies by market, in the U.S., Windows 8.1 will be available for $119.99 ERP (U.S.) and Windows 8.1 Pro will be available for $199.99 ERP (U.S.). The pricing and editions for Windows 8.1 are similar to what we have today for Windows 8," explains the company on its Windows Blog.
Microsoft released the Windows 8 as the successor to the Windows 7 operating system in Oct. 2012. The new operating system included major design changes, as well as a touch-optimized user interface (UI). However, Windows 8 also received criticism as the new interface was confusing and difficult to operate, especially when used with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen.
Customers will hope that the upcoming Windows 8.1 reduces confusion and brings improvements to the operating system.
Microsoft also confirms that Windows 7 PC's can be upgraded to Windows 8.1, which will bring along all the files, but will require you to reinstall desktop apps including Microsoft Office.
Unfortunately, Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running on either Windows XP or Windows Vista. If customers using Windows XP or Windows Vista still want to upgrade to Windows 8.1 then they will have to buy the "retail DVD instead of using the download and boot from the DVD to do a clean install of Windows 8.1." Files, settings and programs on the old operating system will not transfer, hence consumers will need to back up their files and settings.
If you buy a device which runs on Windows 8.1 you will be able to purchase the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack for $99.99 ERP (U.S.), which will also unlock some new features. If you are using Windows 8.1 Pro, you can buy Windows Media Center for $9.99 (U.S.).