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by Ray Carlson

Q: Is it true that Microsoft is selling cheap upgrades to Windows 8?

A: Not exactly. Microsoft has announced that it will sell upgrades for $40 starting when Windows 8 is released in the fall and until January 31, 2013. There is no pre-order available now. The upgrade will be to the pro version, not just the base one. At the same time, if you buy a new computer with Windows 7 after June 2, 2012, you can purchase a certificate for $15 allowing you to upgrade to Windows 8 when Windows 8 is available. That sounds like a good deal, but if you do not need a new computer, you might want to wait. Windows 8 will make extensive use of touch screens and new track pad swipes. Most current computers do not offer these capabilities making the upgrade to Windows 8 of less value. Several PC makers are working on new machines that will add these innovations with these new computers also scheduled for release in the fall.

You can upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows XP, Vista or 7. If you upgrade from XP, you can retain personal files. With Vista, you can also retain your settings, and with Windows 7, you can also keep your current applications. Microsoft has dropped Windows Media Center from Windows 8. That program will be available for separate purchase. However, to placate current users, anyone purchasing an upgrade will be able to add that component for free.

Windows 8 offers several new features that may or may not be worthwhile for you. We will discuss these features in future columns and at some of the Prescott Computer Society's Saturday afternoon meetings.

Published: Courier 6/15/12 - Page 4C