Planning on upgrading your current PC to Windows 8? Unless you're still on Windows 95, Microsoft just revealed how much you might be paying.
For users with laptops and desktops running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, a digital upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will cost $40 if downloaded before Jan. 31, 2013, according to a fresh post on the Microsoft Windows blog. That's the price to download Windows 8 Pro and install it without an actual physical copy of the download; Microsoft will also mail you a DVD version of Windows 8 for backup purposes for an extra $15 plus shipping and handling. Upgrades to Pro will also have the option to add the Windows Media Center program to their download for free.
If buying over the Internet isn't your thing, customers can choose to purchase Windows 8 Pro in stores for $70. These prices are apparently only good through Jan. 31 and will increase after that date.
There is still a chance, too, that the price of your Windows 8 upgrade could be even lower than $40. The announced price is for Windows 8 Pro, the version of Windows 8 that adds several encryption and security features to cater to businesses and enterprise customers. Regular old Windows 8, without all that enhanced security stuff, could be cheaper still. Announcing the new editions of Windows 8, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc wrote that Windows 8 was "the right choice" for many consumers, while Windows 8 Pro was better for "tech enthusiasts and business/tech professionals."
Ina Fried of All Things Digital points out that $40 is less expensive than previous Windows upgrades have been -- an upgrade to Windows 7 Professional from Vista, for example, cost $100. This is perhaps a response to the cheap Mac OS X updates sold by rival Apple (Mountain Lion, the upcoming OS X update, will cost $20 per download), or perhaps an effort to get customers to commit to Windows 8.
Will these lower prices spell higher adoption rates for Windows 8 when it's released this fall? In the past, Microsoft has had trouble convincing its users to upgrade their Windows machines -- Windows 7 is just now passing Windows XP in worldwide market share -- and the push leading up to Windows 8 seems no different. And consumers' unwillingness to pay for an upgrade may be exacerbated by how radically different the Metro design of Windows 8 appears.
You can read more about Windows 8 Pro, and how the download/installation process actually works, at the official Blogging Windows website. And if you need a refresher on what will be changing in Windows 8, you can download the free Release Preview of the new operating system from Microsoft, or check out some photos of the redesigned Windows below.