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Windows 8 Update: Upgrade priced at $39.99

If you've got a PC running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, Microsoft will upgrade the operating system to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 as soon as it becomes generally available.

For customers who make the purchase via windows.com, Microsoft will throw in a free copy of Windows Media Center, the company's digital video recorder and media player, according to a blog by Windows team member Brandon LeBlanc.

LEARN: Top 10 tips for navigating Windows 8 Metro

TEST YOURSELF: The Windows 8 Quiz

The same offer will be available via a CD in stores for $69.99. The deal starts when Windows 8 becomes generally available, but the blog doesn't say when that is. It also doesn't say how long the offer lasts.

Before customers actually download the software from windows.com, an upgrade assistant assesses whether the PCl applications and peripheral devices are compatible with Windows 8.

Not all upgrades are equal, the blog says. Customers upgrading from Windows 7 will be able to bring along their personal settings, files and applications. But those upgrading from Windows Vista won't be able to bring along their apps, and those upgrading from XP won't be able to bring along either their apps or their personal settings.

HP spurns ARM-based Windows 8

The leading PC seller won't offer an ARM-based version of Windows 8 -- at least initially, because it doesn't see demand for the platform, according to a story by Bloomberg.

"The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future," an HP spokesperson told Bloomberg, and that the decision "was influenced by input from our customers."

The x86 Windows 8 machines will support any applications that run on Windows 7 via a traditional Windows interface, but also support Metro-style apps that are suited to Microsoft's new touch-friendly interface.

DETAIL: Cool features of Microsoft Surface tablets

Microsoft itself will ship ARM-based tablet/laptops called Surface RT as soon as Windows 8 is ready to ship, so customers seeking the power-pinching devices won't have to wait. It won't run traditional applications but it does include a limited version of Microsoft Office.

While HP is putting off any excursion into Windows RT at the outset, Microsoft is delaying its entry into x86 Surface Windows 8 Pro devices for 90 days after Windows 8 becomes generally available. So HP will be able to offer x86-based devices unchallenged by the new Microsoft Surface full laptop.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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