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Windows 8 release to the public is almost here

Posted at 25 October 2012 19:53 CEST by Kerry Brown

For those interested in getting Windows 8 Pro as early as possible, Microsoft is starting downloads of the operating system tonight at 12:01 am, presumably in all time zones, though I haven’t found confirmation of that.

Prices for the various versions of the operating system have been known for some time now, but I’ll mention two of the least expensive here.  The upgrade from XP, Vista or Win 7 will cost $39.99 for a direct download.  You can find the link to the upgrade here at Microsoft’s site.  You’ll need to run the Upgrade Assistant to determine if your computer meets the requirements of this upgrade.  The Upgrade Assistant can be downloaded and run without necessarily buying the system.

The least expensive path to Windows 8 comes to those who have recently purchased a computer with Windows 7 already installed.  This type of upgrade will cost only $14.99, but will take more time to process.  You can find the links for your particular country at this page.

For those worried about reinstalling, Windows 8 will allow you to completely wipe the hard drive once it has found the appropriate installation of an earlier Windows operating system.  So a “clean” install is possible.  If you have Windows 7 installed now, this might not be necessary.  Take a look at this article at Ars Technica on the process of installing over Win 7.

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There are 24 comments

Dee
Senior Administrator and Reviewer
Posted on: 25 Oct 12 22:46
    At £24.99 for the download version, I may just give it a try.
    ChristineBCW
    MyCE Die Hard
    Posted on: 25 Oct 12 22:54
      The bigger choice may be Pro vs. Standard, I think. The Enterprise version will be standard in corporate environments, but the Pro's BitLocker and joining in Windows Domain seem to be the bigger calling card.

      Plus there are Upgrade restrictions.
      cyborg
      MyCE Rookie
      Posted on: 25 Oct 12 22:58
        flop of the decade
        Dee
        Senior Administrator and Reviewer
        Posted on: 26 Oct 12 01:11
          It looks like it's 12am 26th wherever you are located.
          Win8 Pro download just became available here in the UK.
          negritude
          MyCE Resident
          Posted on: 26 Oct 12 08:18
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by ChristineBCW
            The bigger choice may be Pro vs. Standard, I think. The Enterprise version will be standard in corporate environments, but the Pro's BitLocker and joining in Windows Domain seem to be the bigger calling card.

            Plus there are Upgrade restrictions.
            Not really a choice. Pro is the baseline for anyone (consumer) upgrading. Core (Standard) is only something that will be pre-installed on machines.
            BradWright
            MyCE Member
            Posted on: 26 Oct 12 21:46
              A little info for anyone planning to buy the downloadable upgrade. I bought it using a computer at work because we have a 100-Mb/Sec internet speed, but I panicked after the download was finished. Microsoft updates the download status a few times during the download. First is downloading, then verifying, and the third one is "Preparing Files", so I thought, oh shit, it's going to automatically install on this computer. But then after a couple minutes, it popped up another window that gave the choice to either (1) install it, (2) install by creating an ISO, or (3) install later from the desktop. I selected two, it saved an ISO image to the location of my choice, and also had a link to open the DVD burner to burn an installation disk. Worked perfectly. Now I just have to install it (and StartIsBack) on my computer when I get home.
              BradWright
              MyCE Member
              Posted on: 27 Oct 12 05:24
                Quote:
                Originally Posted by BradWright
                A little info for anyone planning to buy the downloadable upgrade. I bought it using a computer at work because we have a 100-Mb/Sec internet speed, but I panicked after the download was finished. Microsoft updates the download status a few times during the download. First is downloading, then verifying, and the third one is "Preparing Files", so I thought, oh shit, it's going to automatically install on this computer. But then after a couple minutes, it popped up another window that gave the choice to either (1) install it, (2) install by creating an ISO, or (3) install later from the desktop. I selected two, it saved an ISO image to the location of my choice, and also had a link to open the DVD burner to burn an installation disk. Worked perfectly. Now I just have to install it (and StartIsBack) on my computer when I get home.
                Well, I guess it didn't work out all that perfectly after all. All three downloads turned out to be 32-bit versions, which I don't want, because my three systems are all multi-core 64-bit computers. I called Microsoft customer service and was told the overwhelming demand caused a glitch in the system, and people weren't being given the option to select 32- or 64-bit downloads, and that I should wait about 24 hours and do my downloads again. They said it would be fixed, and I would be able to select which version I want. Well, here's to tomorrow and downloading again. Hope it works.
                FreqNasty_RiseS
                MyCE Member
                Posted on: 28 Oct 12 15:30
                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by cyborg
                  flop of the decade
                  I put the start menu back in as I'm not ready to go without that right now.
                  There are some welcome improvements to windows explorer and the task manager.
                  Handles dual OS much better than w7. Starts up quicker. IE10 is solid.
                  You can avoid the metro part of it and get an improved windows 7.
                  alan1476
                  Senior Moderator, Software Editor and Head of Promotions
                  Posted on: 28 Oct 12 15:43
                    I just found out you can install the upgrade on a clean hdd and it will install as the full version.
                    BradWright
                    MyCE Member
                    Posted on: 28 Oct 12 16:09
                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by alan1476
                      I just found out you can install the upgrade on a clean hdd and it will install as the full version.
                      I tried installing the downloaded upgrade version on a partition running the Windows 8 RTM trial, fully expecting that it wouldn't install, but it installed and activated just fine. When the installation first started, the only option was to save nothing, but it put my old profile, programs, etc., into a Windows.old folder, So I copied everything (except the Windows folder) from that folder into the new folders, and not only did I have all my personal settings back, but all but two of the programs worked as well. What was really weird is that although the programs worked, they weren't listed in Programs and Features, so I reinstalled them anyway to get them listed. Then I downloaded my Apps from the Windows store and was fully back up and running with Windows 8 Pro within a couple of hours.
                      xorsists
                      MyCE Senior Member
                      Posted on: 28 Oct 12 16:27
                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by alan1476
                        I just found out you can install the upgrade on a clean hdd and it will install as the full version.
                        I can confirm the upgrade can be used as a clean install and will activate also did it on two pcs.

                        if you do an upgrade windows 8 also has the option after the upgrade to boot the disc again and select repair computer advanced options reset computer and t it removes everything windows.old folder ect just like a clean install a nice feature.
                        Nemesys
                        MyCE Resident
                        Posted on: 28 Oct 12 19:23
                          Quote:
                          Originally Posted by FreqNasty_RiseS
                          I put the start menu back in as I'm not ready to go without that right now.
                          There are some welcome improvements to windows explorer and the task manager.
                          Handles dual OS much better than w7. Starts up quicker. IE10 is solid.
                          You can avoid the metro part of it and get an improved windows 7.
                          Well said!!!
                          It sums it up perfectly.
                          This mirrors my sentiments based on similar experiences.
                          roadworker
                          MyCE Resident
                          Posted on: 28 Oct 12 20:56
                            You can make it look and act the way you want.......
                            IMHO,it's not the flop of the decade,you don't need Metro if you don't like it......
                            Nemesys
                            MyCE Resident
                            Posted on: 29 Oct 12 13:10
                              Quote:
                              Originally Posted by alan1476
                              I just found out you can install the upgrade on a clean hdd and it will install as the full version.
                              Hi Alan.

                              Any special steps required for this?
                              Nemesys
                              MyCE Resident
                              Posted on: 31 Oct 12 13:21
                                Has anyone else succeeded in doing a clean install with Windows 8 upgrade?

                                The local CompUSA is running Windows 8 Pro Upgrade at $69.99 with an 120GB OCZ Vertez 3 SSD at $39.99 (after $20 mail-in-rebate) if purchased on the same ticket.

                                I'd like to step into this if it does work as such.

                                Thanks
                                Dee
                                Senior Administrator and Reviewer
                                Posted on: 31 Oct 12 13:39
                                  I found you can easily do a clean install to a new HDD/SSD but it won't activate.

                                  Best way is to do a quick very basic install of XP/Vista/Win7 (don't even bother updating or installing drivers), then update from there using the "keep nothing" option.
                                  Once Win8 is installed and activated, you can delete the "Windows old" folder than was created during the Win 8 install.
                                  Nemesys
                                  MyCE Resident
                                  Posted on: 31 Oct 12 13:58
                                    Thanks Dee.

                                    That was my alternate solution.

                                    It appears to me hit or miss on the clean install. Some were successfull and other not so on the activation.

                                    Do I even bother to activate the Windows 7 install?
                                    Seán
                                    Senior Administrator & Reviewer
                                    Posted on: 31 Oct 12 14:08
                                      I've Windows 8 running in a separate partition. I started with the upgrade assistant in Windows 7 and selected the "Keep nothing" option. After it created the bootable USB stick which I then booted, I chose the "Custom (Advanced)" installation, selected the unpartitioned space on my SSD containing Windows 7 and after the installation completed, it gave a boot menu with the choice of Windows 7 & 8.

                                      As a result, I can continue using my existing Windows 7 or the clean Windows 8 installation. It activated successfully.

                                      While the OS Choice menu looks nice, the only thing I don't like about it is that it reboots the PC to go back into Windows 7. For example, if I want to boot into Windows 7, I must first wait for my PC to POST and load the OS choice screen. When I choose "Windows 7", the PC reboots and must wait for the POST process again before it boots into Windows 7. Finally, when I shutdown (or reboot), the OS choice screen appears again the next time the PC is booted. When Windows 8 is chosen in the OS choice screen, the Start (Metro) screen appears pretty much instantly.
                                      Dee
                                      Senior Administrator and Reviewer
                                      Posted on: 31 Oct 12 14:47
                                        Quote:
                                        Originally Posted by Nemesys
                                        Do I even bother to activate the Windows 7 install?
                                        My Win7 install was activated. No idea if it needs to be activated or not.
                                        Nemesys
                                        MyCE Resident
                                        Posted on: 31 Oct 12 16:51
                                          Thanks Dee.
                                          Thanks Seán.

                                          Heck it only takes a minute to activate anyway. I'll just activate it.
                                          I just picked up the Windows 8 Pro/OCZ 120GB SSD combo from CompUSA ($139 after taxes).

                                          Seán, I use an ICY DOCK mobile rack to swap out the drives, keeping the OSes completely isolated.

                                          If I have to, I'll drop Windows 7 on the new SSD and activate it before upgrading to Windows 8 using the "Keep Nothing" option Dee mentioned above.
                                          roadworker
                                          MyCE Resident
                                          Posted on: 31 Oct 12 17:58
                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Seán
                                            As a result, I can continue using my existing Windows 7 or the clean Windows 8 installation. It activated successfully..
                                            Same strategy here....

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Seán
                                            While the OS Choice menu looks nice, the only thing I don't like about it is that it reboots the PC to go back into Windows 7. For example, if I want to boot into Windows 7, I must first wait for my PC to POST and load the OS choice screen. When I choose "Windows 7", the PC reboots and must wait for the POST process again before it boots into Windows 7. Finally, when I shutdown (or reboot), the OS choice screen appears again the next time the PC is booted. When Windows 8 is chosen in the OS choice screen, the Start (Metro) screen appears pretty much instantly.
                                            Try with win 7 as default in the windows 8 msconfig-->computer startup setting....
                                            Liggy
                                            Senior Administrator
                                            Posted on: 31 Oct 12 19:12
                                              In Windows 7 there was a trick, modifying one registry key to allow activating fresh installs with an upgrade key. I also found reports that this trick will still work on Windows 8.

                                              You just need to change the registry value HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersionsetup/OOBE/MediaBootInstall from 1 to 0 and run the command "slmgr /rearm" with elevated rights.
                                              Seán
                                              Senior Administrator & Reviewer
                                              Posted on: 31 Oct 12 20:13
                                                Quote:
                                                Originally Posted by roadworker
                                                Try with win 7 as default in the windows 8 msconfig-->computer startup setting....
                                                Thanks, that worked.

                                                That also saves going through two POSTs just to reboot Windows 7.
                                                roadworker
                                                MyCE Resident
                                                Posted on: 01 Nov 12 00:24
                                                  Quote:
                                                  Originally Posted by Seán
                                                  That also saves going through two POSTs just to reboot Windows 7.

                                                  I know.......and windows 8 boots directly to it's own partition after selecting the os in the "old" win 7 bootmanager....

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