Big Windows 8 discount ends today

Today is the last day customers can purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for the discounted price of $39.99.

Starting tomorrow, Feb. 1, Microsoft will quintuple the price of the upgrade to $199.99. An upgrade to Windows 8, a less-capable edition that lacks corporate features such as BitLocker encryption and the ability to remotely connect to a company's network, will cost $119.99 beginning Friday. That edition was never discounted.

Customers with PCs running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 can upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, although with varying degrees of success. The migration from Windows 7 to Windows 8 is the most thorough, while that from XP is the least effective in bringing along existing files, settings and applications.

Microsoft announced the discounted upgrade in July 2012, and kicked off fulfillment in October alongside Windows 8's debut.

Today also marks the end of several other deals, including $69.99 prices for Windows 8 Pro on a DVD and something Microsoft calls Windows 8 Pro Pack, which upgrades Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro. The former will jump to $199.99—Microsoft does not discount downloads as many other vendors do—and the latter will climb to $99.99.

Starting Friday, Windows 8 Media Center Pack, an add-on that makes it possible to play CDs and DVDs on a Windows 8 PC, will cost $9.99. Until then, it remains a free download from within Windows 8 Pro.

The new 'Modern' interface of Windows 8

Microsoft has touted Windows 8 Pro upgrade sales numbers only once, when, in late October, CEO Steve Ballmer said his company had sold 4 million copies in its first three days. Since then, Microsoft has declined to get specific, although the firm's CFO recently cited upgrades as one of several reasons why the Windows division's revenue increased 11 percent in 2012's fourth quarter.

Customers purchasing the Windows 8 upgrade today do not have to immediately install it. Instead, they can create a bootable flash drive or installation DVD, then set aside the physical media for later use.

Also ending today is the eight-month deal that offers a $14.99 upgrade for customers who purchased a Windows 7-powered PC between June 2, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013. Those buyers have until Feb. 28 to claim the promotional code for the $14.99 price.

The $39.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade can be ordered and downloaded from Microsoft's website.

Today is the last day Microsoft will sell Windows 8 Pro upgrades at a discount.

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