Get a cheap Win8 upgrade while you still can

Contemplating an upgrade to Windows 8? Then you may want to pull the trigger now, even if you don't proceed with the installation straight away. As we noted earlier this month, today is the last day of Microsoft's Windows 8 upgrade promotion. Starting tomorrow, prices are going to go up—and quite substantially so. In the company's words...

  • The Windows 8 Pro upgrade edition will be available online and at retail for $199.99 MSRP (U.S.).
  • The Windows 8 upgrade edition will be available online and at retail for $119.99 MSRP (U.S.).
  • The Windows 8 Pro Pack will cost $99.99 MSRP (U.S.).
  • The Windows 8 Media Center Pack will cost $9.99 MSRP (U.S.).

Right now, Microsoft's promotion lets you to snag a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $39.99 in downloadable form or $69.99 in a retail package—and you can get Windows Media Center free of charge by entering your e-mail address here. Tomorrow, a Win8 Pro upgrade with Windows Media Center will set you back a wallet-scorching $209.98.

Yeah, probably not a good idea to wait.

Laggards won't have it so bad if they're enrolled in school, at least. Starting February 1, Microsoft plans to price Windows 8 Pro upgrades at $69.99 for students. The offer will be available online from the Microsoft Store, although the company doesn't say whether it will apply to retail packages or just downloads. Either way, Microsoft stipulates, "Students qualify for this offer only if they have a valid e-mail address through a qualifying education institution and a PC that is currently running a genuine copy of Windows XP (XP3), Windows Vista or Windows 7."

Oh, and that offer will only be available in the U.S. at first. It will expand to Canada, western Europe, and a handful of other countries on February 21, then again to more nations on March 7 and March 19. I assume exact pricing will vary for each country.

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