Online retailers such as Amazon have started to accept pre-orders for the boxed version of Microsoft Windows 8 Pro. The Windows 8 Upgrade is available for $69.99 until January 31, 2013 at which point it will be offered for the actual retail price of $199.99. The upgrade edition is only available for existing Microsoft customers who own a PC running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc revealed earlier this year that the previous version of Windows needs to be installed on the PC to run the upgrade.
The boxed version of Windows 8 ships on a single DVD that is shipped to your home address. Depending on when it is shipped by the retailer, it may mean that you won't receive it on October 26, 2012, the official release date of the operating system.
The alternative to pre-ordering a boxed version of Windows 8 is to buy the Windows 8 Pro upgrade as a digital download on October 26. Not only is the digital download copy cheaper, at $39.99 instead of $69.99, but you can also order a backup DVD if you want for $15 extra. While that does not equate a boxed copy of Windows 8, it gives you an option to get a physical copy of the operating system.
Then again, it is necessary to burn the digital download to DVD or copy it to an USB Flash Drive before you install the Windows 8 operating system.
Other retailers, like Newegg, have started to list OEM versions of Windows 8 for pre-order.
In short: The Windows 8 Pro Upgrade box costs $69.99 if you pre-order or buy before January 31, 2013. It may arrive later but you do not need to download the operating system and burn it to DVD or copy it on a Flash drive before you install it.
The digital download is available for $39.99. Depending on Microsoft's servers and your connection, you may be able to download and install the operating system on the same day. What you do not get is a boxed version.
Pre-ordering only makes sense if you want to get the boxed copy at the earliest moment. There is no other reason for pre-ordering right away. If you have a fast Internet connection and do not mind burning the operating system to DVD, you save almost half the money doing so. And since that version is offered as a digital download, there is no need to pre-order or fear that the offer will run out prematurely.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.