With just one month until the General Availability of Windows 8.1, the first major update to Windows 8 since it was released last fall, Microsoft is now sharing details about how it can be purchased and for how much.

Brandon LeBlanc, writing over on the Blogging Windows site, shares all the info.

  • Current Windows 8 devices, which receive the update at no cost, will get the update through the Windows Store.
  • Consumers not currently using Windows 8 can purchase Windows 8.1 as a download from Windows.com or in retail packaging on a DVD. Prices will vary by market but in the US that version has an estimated retail price (ERP) of $119.99. Windows 8.1 Pro will retail for $199.99 ERP.  See this story on Windows IT Pro for the difference between the Windows 8.1 versions.

One thing they will offer with Windows 8.1 that was not offered with Windows 8 is that the retail versions on the shelf and for download will be the full versions of Windows 8.1 and not require a previous version of Windows to use them.  This is a huge plus and offers terrific flexibility for the end user for installation and use.

For those of you still using previous versions of Windows here are your upgrade scenarios:

    • Windows 7: Consumers can upgrade a Windows 7 PC which will bring along all their files, but will require them to reinstall desktop apps including Microsoft Office.
    • Windows XP & Windows Vista: 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.

Of course the anytime upgrades will still be available for those of you who purchase a system that has Windows 8.1 on it (i.e. not the pro version).  Upgrading from the core Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Pro with the purchase of the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack will cost you $99.99 ERP in the US.  The Pro Pack includes Windows Media Center but if you purchase Windows 8.1 Pro separately or it comes on an existing device then the Windows Media Center Add On will run you just $9.99 ERP in the US.

What is your plans when it comes to Windows 8.1?