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Microsoft reveals pricing, upgrade for Windows 8.1

(MoneyWatch) If you're a Windows 8 user and you're not already running the pre-release version of Windows 8.1, you might be pleased to know that general availability is just a few weeks away. Microsoft (MSFT) will offer the upgrade in the Windows Store starting on October 18. If you already have Windows 8, that upgrade is, of course, free. For everyone else, the Redmond company has finally disclosed the product pricing.

Announced on Microsoft's Windows blog, the newest iteration of Windows has a fairly simple pricing scheme: The full retail version of Windows 8.1 is $119.99, and Windows 8.1 Pro is $199.99. You can also upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Pro for $99.99.

It's also worth noting that Microsoft has essentially done away with the concept of an "upgrade-only" version of Windows 8. Both the retail and download versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro will be full versions that don't require a previous version of Windows to be installed.

Microsoft has also supplied some additional details about how older PCs can upgrade. For Windows 7 PCs, the upgrade process migrates your files, but you will need to reinstall apps.

Windows Vista and Windows XP machines are explicitly not supported, however. Specifically, Microsoft has this to say:

"Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista. Although not designed or recommended for devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista, consumers still wanting to upgrade from Windows XP or Windows Vista should buy the retail DVD instead of using the download and boot from the DVD to do a clean install of Windows 8.1. Note: files, settings and programs will not transfer - Consumers will need to back up their files and settings, perform clean installation, and then reinstall their files, settings and programs."

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

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