It’s time to prepare for Microsoft’s next Windows
On Friday, October 18, 2013, Microsoft will unleash Windows 8.1, its next Windows release for PCs and tablets. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for Windows 8.1, regardless of which version of Windows you’re currently running.
Obtaining Windows 8.1
How you get from your current version of Windows to Windows 8.1 will vary depending on which version you’re using. If it’s Windows XP, Vista, or 7, bad news: You need to purchase the full retail version of the product (which costs $119.99 for Windows 8.1 “Core” and $199.99 for Windows 8.1 Pro). And if you upgrade using this product, you’ll have to reinstall all of your applications.
There is one workaround, at least for Windows 7 users: Buy a retail version of the Windows 8 (as in 8.0) upgrade instead (same pricing as noted above) and upgrade to that instead. Then you can get Windows 8.1 for free, and you won’t have lost any applications in the process.
Windows 8 users, as noted above, can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free. But you won’t be using (and thus paying for) a retail product. Instead, you’ll be able to download the updater from the Windows Store and upgrade electronically. I’ll have a complete walkthrough of this process on October 18.
If you previously upgraded from Windows 8 to the Windows 8.1 Preview, bad news: You can upgrade to the final version of Windows 8.1 for free, of course. But you will have to reinstall all of your desktop applications and Metro-style apps (the ones that don’t ship as part of Windows). Otherwise, this upgrade will work the same as updating from the original version of Windows 8.
Mac user? Assuming you don’t already have Windows 8 running in Boot Camp or in a virtual environment, you will need to purchase one of the retail versions of the product mentioned above. This is true for anyone that wishes to install Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine, of course, including those using Hyper-V, VMWare Workstation, or whatever.
Repost from Paul Thurrott