Microsoft offers Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $40 plus free Windows Media Center

Super-cheap upgrades for Windows XP, Vista and 7 owners

Windows 8 Upgrade Advisor

If there was any doubt that Microsoft wanted everyone to get Windows 8, they've just been extinguished by the news of a super-cheap upgrade to Windows 8 Pro – the top version for consumers.

Starting from the day of general release of the new OS, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 owners will be able to buy the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro from for $40. This offer will be available in the UK, but Microsoft has told us that the exact price hasn't yet been confirmed; however, we'd expect it to be a fairly straight dollar-to-pound conversion, so expect a price of around £30 including VAT.

As well as the cheap upgrade, users will be able to choose to install Windows Media Center for free using the Add Features option from within Windows 8. Other users will have to pay for Media Center, which is no longer an integral part of the OS.

Announced on the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft has promised that the upgrade process is going to be simple.

The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant will let you know about your current application and hardware compatibility and give you advice on how to make any incompatible devices work. An upgrade can be performed in-situ once the download has completed, but for more flexibility you can create a USB boot disk or an ISO file that you can burn to DVD. These latter options create bootable media that you can use for recovery or to perform a fresh install of Windows 8.

For those looking to perform an upgrade, the OS you're running is important. Windows 7 users will be able to bring along Windows settings, personal files and apps; Windows Vista users will be able to bring along Windows settings and personal files; Windows XP users will only be able to bring along personal files.

Windows 8 Pro upgrade will be available from the launch of the OS later this year through January 31st, 2013. For those that prefer a 'real' boxed product with a DVD, the upgrade version will be on sale for $70 (around £54 including VAT) in stores.

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