Feature Articles
Windows 8: The Basics, Versions & Upgrade Paths
By Michael Low, Ng Chong Seng & Kenny Yeo - 5 Oct 2012,10:51am

Windows 8 Upgrade Paths

Windows 8 Upgrade Paths

In June, Microsoft rolled out a Windows Upgrade Offer to new Windows 7 PCs buyers. Anyone who has bought a Windows 7 PC that's preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate, and has a matching and valid OEM Certificate of Authenticity from June 2, 2012 through January 31, 2013 will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Professional at a price of US$14.99 on the day of Windows 8 launch. This offer should also be claimed no later than February 28, 2013.

The online registration for the Windows Upgrade offer is already opened at windowsupgradeoffer.com. Your 25-digit Windows 7 product key is needed as part of the registration process. Come October 26, Microsoft will email you promo codes, which you can then use during checkout within the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.

Microsoft has also announced a US$39.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer for existing Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 users in 131 markets. And to sweeten the deal, you can add Windows Media Center for free through the ‘add features’ option in the OS after the upgrade.

The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant will perform app and device compatibility checks, and highlight any issue for you to rectify. <br> Image source: Microsoft

The upgrade purchase is done online at Windows.com, and once again, Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant will take you through the purchase, download, and installation process. What's neat about the Upgrade Assistant is that it'll perform app and device compatibility checks, and highlight any issue to you. It also has a built-in download manager so that you can pause and continue your download at any time. In addition, you'll be asked what you want to bring over from your current Windows installation. You can check the table below for more details, but in a nutshell, since only personal files (which you can backup easily) are kept when you’re upgrading from a Windows XP or Windows 8 Release Preview installation, you might as well just do a clean install.

When the download completes, you can upgrade immediately or install later, either from your desktop, or by creating your own bootable USB drive or ISO DVD. Microsoft is also offering the option of purchasing a backup DVD for US$15 plus shipping and handling. For those who prefer to pick up a packaged DVD version of the upgrade, this will be offered in stores for US$69.99. Once again, both the online and retail upgrade promotions will run through January 31, 2013.

Note: At the time of this writing, Microsoft Malaysia has yet to announce the local pricing of Windows 8 other than the Windows Upgrade Offer for new Windows 7 PCs.

You can choose what files to keep (depending on existing Windows version), pause a download, and even create a bootable USB drive or ISO DVD for later installation. (Image source: Microsoft.)

What You Can Keep When Upgrading to Windows 8 Pro
Windows 7 (Any Consumer Edition) Everything, including Windows settings, personal files, and apps.
Windows Vista Windows settings and personal files.
Windows XP Personal files only.
Windows 8 Release Preview Personal files only.



For users who are upgrading from Windows 7, take note that there are certain limitations and restrictions. For example, a 32-bit installation of Windows 7 can only be upgraded to a 32-bit version of Windows 8. The same restrictions apply for 64-bit users of Windows 7. Otherwise, nearly any Windows 7 user can upgrade directly to Windows 8 Pro, but Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate users cannot 'downgrade' to regular Windows 8. For Windows XP and Vista users, it is only possible to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro.

Here’s a table that sums up the possible Windows 8 upgrade paths if you're on Windows 7.

Windows 7 Edition Can Upgrade to Windows 8? Can Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro? Can Upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise?




Home Basic
Home Premium


Ultimate No
Enterprise No Yes