Windows 8 Launch Liveblog: Everything You Need To Know

Windows 8 has arrived and Aussies are among the first to get their hands on it thanks to the way this Earth of ours rotates around the Sun. We've just sat front-and-centre at the Windows 8 Launch Event in Sydney, and have all the Windows 8 info you need to know.

The official Windows 8 launch event kicks off at 9:30am AEDT on 26 October, 2012. Bookmark this for all the pricing and launch information as it happens tomorrow morning.


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As It Happened...

[9:10] We have arrived, and Microsoft has gone all out to make the Hordern Pavillion its new new home. Indie pop music is blaring, the atmosphere is hot and journos are steadily arriving.

[9:31 Luke]: We're in our seats and as each song finishes, we're wondering if we'll hear someone speak. This copy of Death Cab For Cutie's new album sure is getting a work out. We're getting underway soon.

[9:32 Angus] I'm told around 130 journalists were invited. The room seems quite full. Dan Ilic is also here somewhere, minor celeb hunters.

[9:33 Angus] I think the ideal way for this to start would be with Gerry Harvey streaking.

[9:34 Luke] For all you minor celeb spotters: I hear The Project's Angus Kidman is in the building too...

[9:35 Angus] Lights go down, the inevitable video with Metro-style graphics begins. Sorry, I mean Modern.

Meet The New Windows

[9:36 Angus] "Meet the new Windows." Actually, we've been shacked up together for quite a while now. I won't tell if you don't.

[0:36 Angus] Rick Kelly, Jessica Watson. The minor celeb theme continues.

[9:36 Luke] Obligatory Jessica Watson appearance in the Microsoft video. Is she a Microsoft employee yet?

[9:37 Angus] A dancing dude is on stage, pretending to control Metro.

[9:38 Luke] It's Metro-nority Report up in here!

[9:38 Angus] And the dancing is done. Here comes Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia's MD.

[9:39 Angus] Pip Marlow discussing the challenges of life as a working mum. She probably gets on planes more than your mum though. "Windows 8 helps me personally manage a pretty wild and crazy life."

[9:40 Angus] Pip was up at midnight at the Harvey Norman launch, then the 3am New York event. Mind you, Luke's night was a bit like that too.

[9:40 Angus] Now she's talking through Harvey Norman. Read Luke's two excellent stories on this if you haven't already.

[9:40 Angus] Now Pip is talking through at-a-glance notifications on the Windows 8 lockscreen.

[9:42 Angus] Now demonstrating Picture Password.

[9:43 Angus] Repeating the claim that Windows 8 is designed for every input, but that it makes touch a "first class citizen". I don't dispute the second claim.

[9:43 Luke] Needless to say, this live blog is brought to you by caffeine, and the letter zzzzzzz.

[9:44 Angus] Now Tile Personalisation 101. I hope Dan Ilic is learning something here.

9:45 The Windows 8 dancer. He's got the moves.

[9:45 Angus] Showing off news sites in IE. Let's pretend we didn't see the headline with the words "incest dad".

[9:46 Angus] Still more hot live tiles action. And now we're talking gaming.

[9:46 Angus] Game of choice for the demo? Fruit Ninja with full multi-touch.

[9:49 Luke] Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia's managing director.

[9:47 Angus] Showing off a Westpac Windows 8 app. The last Westpac app demo I saw was a total debacle, let's hope this goes better.

[9:48 Luke] Pip is showing off a dummy account with over $8 million on it. DO WANT.

[9:48 Angus] Must include the value of her options.

[9:48 Angus] Westpac app has a nice option where you can have a customisable gauge for your account on the start screen — means you can see Empty to Full without everyone seeing the exact amount you have.

[9:50 Angus] While I'm watching Pip move fake money around, Luke is taking photos. I trust no-one will try and use the fake credit card numbers.

[9:51 Angus] Pip leaves the stage for more product demos. I like the Start screen, but it would be good to see some other stuff.

[9:53 Luke] The new, Modern UI-ified Westpac Personal Banking app for Windows 8. We chose not to upload the photo that had Pip's credit card number on it. Secure!

[9:52 Angus] Deeps De Silva is showing off live tiles. Again.

[9:54 Angus] Gotta say, this demo isn't going to help with the perception that Windows 8 doesn't make much sense if you don't have a touch screen.

[9:55 Angus] Now we're seeing the Arsenal app and more Charms integration. I must remember this is shockingly new to all the non-geeks in the room.

[9:56 Angus] Key Aussie Windows 8 apps being shown: Westpac, SBS On Demand, MetroTwit, AllTheDeals, DodoGoGo, Take4U, and techAU (run by friend of Giz and Lifehacker contributor Jason Cartwright).

[9:57 Angus] Dragging groups on the start screen. As we told you some months ago, you can only do this in zoomed-out mode.

[10:00 Luke] Here's Microsoft Australia's head of Windows. This is a photo of his niece. Everyone seems to be very family-proud at Microsoft. I'm waiting for someone to get up with something NSFW on there.

[9:58 Angus] Working through the People app. And we're seeing more photos of Gerry Harvey. I think I have Gerry overload.

[10:00 Luke] I still want to see Gerry Harvey streak across the stage. Maybe that's the coffee talking.

[10:01 Angus] Let's just call it lack of sleep and move on.

[10:02 Angus] "What I really like about the Windows Store is that it remembers all the apps I've downloaded." It would be shocking if it didn't!

[10:02 Angus] Guy Sebastian name drop. This may be a hint that he will be singing at us shortly. (I've seen Rogue Traders and Bardot at previous Windows launches.)

[10:03 Luke] Bring back Bardot, I say.


[10:03 Angus] Xbox Music demo. More Guy Sebastian. Friend of Lifehacker Anthony Caruana observes: "Given the taste in music, the album name Armageddon seems appropriate."

[10:04 Angus] Windows 8 is a "no compromise" experience. I should have had that one on a buzzword bingo card.

[10:05 Angus] We have just seen the desktop for the first time this demo. "This is a familiar interface." No mention of the missing Start button of course.

[10:06 Angus] Followed promptly by a Snap demo, so we can have even more Guy Sebastian. I hope he's busy installing Windows 8 right now.

[10:06 Luke] We're hearing about Pip Marlow's love of Guy Sebastian. Currently shopping on eBay to see if we can buy a Guy Sebastian of our own.

[10:07 Angus] Now we're back on gaming, looking at Jetpack Joyride. "What's great about Xbox games on Windows 8 is that it tracks your achievement points." I think Kotaku readers may need a stronger sell than that.

[10:07 Angus] Demonstrating movies by watching Battleship. The idea anyone would watch that strains credulity, does it not?

[10:08 Angus] This is more like it: a proper SmartGlass demo. We're going to see content resumed from a Windows 8 device onto the Xbox 360.

[10:09 Angus] But that's it! I'd have showed off SmartGlass a lot more. Pip Marlow has returned.

[10:09 Angus] "Where to from here?" Time for buzzwords.

[10:08 Angus] Connectedness. Fast. Fluid. Vegemite. Fun. (OK, I made one of those up.)

[10:98 Angus] Tina Flemmer, head of the Windows division, will take questions. Actual information may now emerge.

[10:15 Luke] Demonstration of Xbox SmartGlass working... Here we see Battleship go from the Marketplace, to the Windows 8 device, up to the Xbox 360 via SmartGlass.


[10:10 Angus] First question: Why no start button?

[10:11 Angus] "Windows 8 was designed to be intuitive. With a swipe or a click, I'm going from my desktop to my Start screen. It is intuitive." Bit of a non-answer. "It is different. Every time we buy a new device, there is a point of familiarity we go through."

[10:10 Angus] Next question: an early criticism is the lack of Metro apps. Can we expect more in the next few days?

[10:11 Angus] Pip: "There are millions of Windows applications . . . We've got an incredible developer ecosystem" including 30,000 in Asia-Pacific. But no specific app numbers.

[10:11 Angus] How will you eliminate confusion between RT and Windows 8?

[10:11 Angus] So Tina talks through the versions. "RT is designed for thin and lights and for impressive battery life."

[10:12 Angus] Next question: how are you explaining this to retailers?

[10:12 Angus] Which leads to more talk about RT.

[10:13 Angus] Alex (the other Kidman) asks what Microsoft is doing to explain these differences.

[10:14 Angus] Pip doesn't answer the question, again.

[10:15 Luke] This is a masterclass in ducking and weaving. Microsoft won't answer the question about full version pricing.

[10:15 Angus] I've asked for prices outside what we already know.

[10:16 Angus] And I'm being told the prices we already have are all we get. Microsoft will not quote a price for a fresh Windows 8 install. Which seems massively stupid.

[10:16 Luke] That's really poor. Full version pricing is a question that needs to be answered. Needless to say, we'll be harassing Microsoft to no end to get it for you.

[10:18 Angus] And now we're wrapping up. Time for a video of the Windows 8 ambassadors.

[10:19 Luke] Those "ambassadors" include jewelry designers, V8 supercar drivers and Jessica Watson. I'd like to hear from them the prices.

[10:19 Angus] And now the event pretty much ends, as we're led into the "Experience Zone".

[10:20 Luke] CONFIRMED: There is a Surface RT here.

[10:27 Angus] So we're done. Most of the demo was predictable; I'm still stunned by the "upgrades only" pricing policy. Still can't make sense of that.

[10:30 Angus] We're going to head out now and check out the devices on the show floor...

New Hardware

[10:35 Luke] We're now looking around Microsoft's Windows 8 Experience Zone. All the brand ambassadors are here, including Jessica Watson who is using a Dell XPS Duo 12. The Surface RT is around here somewhere, we'll find it and bring you our hands on impressions later on in the day.

[10:34 Luke] That's all she wrote from this stage, folks. We're heading into the Experience Zone right now. Check out the photos of all the shiny Microsoft hid from us that whole presentation. I still think it's disappointing that Microsoft won't let people buy a full version of the software off the shelf today. That's sucks especially for people like me who want to upgrade from the Consumer Preview in a virtual machine. Alas, we'll have to wait.

[10:34 Luke] In the meantime, we're about to go hands-on with a Surface RT. We'll bring you our first Australian impressions as soon as we have them.

[10:40 Luke] Until then, thanks for joining us! Make sure to check out all the photos from this event and let us know what you think of Microsoft's new offerings in the comments...


    Just so it's clear - 0930 AEST is the time Windows 8 becomes available for purchase?

      There are midnight sale events at some Harvey Norman stores, and I imagine most retailers will sell it from when they open on Friday. Awaiting clarification on whether download copies kick in at midnight or during the event.

      Already got Windows 8 via the $15 upgrade offer. It let me buy, download and install a few hours ago.

      Use this link and you can buy, download and install the upgrade version at the normal price of $40 now

    What do I want to know?
    Where/how to get it on the weekend!

    I'm still yet to get a straight answer out of any website i've visited (including on what URL to hit Friday evening/Saturday to pay my $40 and download Windows 8 Pro.

    Why didn't Microsoft have a pre-order website for downloading it - they could be sitting on potentially millions of dollars of revenue already for people who just want to download & upgrade on the day and are happy to pay beforehand.

    Given the ads we've seen so far, will there be a dance number too? Some of the "click in" stunts done live would be pretty cool.

    Hi, what really confuses me is that there seems to be no full license version going on sale tomorrow? Both harvey norman and office works state on their websites that to install the version they sell one needs to have a previous version of windows installed already. I am using linux at the moment so I don't have any windows on my computer. Will I be able to buy a full license tomorrow or will I have to wait?

      There is a home builder license you will need Greg to use for that, that is like an OEM copy but for end users.

      its called "Personal Use License for System Builder " or PULSB
      thats what you will want to get

        Hi, any idea where I can buy this "Personal Use License for System Builder " or PULSB edition? I does not appear in any (web)shop ... Thanks in advance.

    Just to confirm, it starts on 0930 AEST, which is Brisbane time? Not AEDT?

    Same as the above members, what I want to know is:

    1. Where can I get a full version for installing on a PC with no installed operating system (be it a link or a physical copy).

    2. What will the full licence cost?

    3. Where can I get a $40 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for PC's that have an existing Windows licence (be it a link or a physical copy).

    4. What date/time do the above become avaliable?

    What an absolutely shocking marketing campaign, sure everyone knows it's coming out, but none of us are going to know how to buy the damn thing!

    Last edited 25/10/12 4:55 pm

      I couldn't agree more with you. People are willing to spend money but don't know how to buy the right version ... absolutely ridiculous ...

      Yep, at this rate sales on day 1 will be limited to retail copies bought in store.

      C'mon Microsoft this cannot be a hard question to answer. I just read on a forum where someone rang up Microsoft Australia and they couldn't tell them anything - rediculous.

      It seems as though Microsoft STILL favour retail copies - Microsoft this is 2012 - the internet should be how 99% of copies are sold.

      I have a OEM licence on my desk ready for a clients new machine come tomorrow.

      Under Windows 7 OEM licences only the OEM could pre-install on a brand new PC.. Windows 8 is slightly different. I will type what is written on the outside of the packaging.

      1. The Microsoft OEM System Builder Licence on the opposite side of this package and the license terms in the product do not apply to you. Instead, you must go to to read and accept the licence terms in order to use this software. You will also find system requirements on this page.
      2. Customer support from Microsoft is not included for this product.
      3. Key licensing terms for your use of this product are:
      The software in the package may only be used:
      - As the operating system on a PC you build for personal use OR
      - As an additional operating system running in either a local virtual machine or in a separate partition
      The software in the package may not be used:
      - As an upgrade licence to an existing underlying Windows operating system
      - To legalize a non-genuine Windows operating system
      - To license more than five copies of the software (in total) for commercial use

      Basically if you build yourself a new PC you can get the OEM copy which I estimate will cost sub $150 at some of the cheaper outlets.

      I also want to know about the $40 upgrade as I have 2 machines here waiting to be done. The physical copy is meant to be $69 or something similar yet none of my suppliers stock it. So maybe bigger stores like Hardly Normal are the only ones with access atm.

      As for what date/time do they become available, my supplier started shipping on the 24th with strict instructions not to sell before the 26th. So OEM copies should be available at stores if you fit the licensing terms of course.

      Last edited 26/10/12 12:22 am

        EDIT: I was able to fix the link above. Also is live now.

        EDIT 2: Now its offline again. I think I timed it when they were testing and realised it went live.

        Last edited 26/10/12 12:22 am is where you can download copies from. The download links are not active right now (tells you to come back soon, ie from the 26th).

      Wasn't that hard to find now.....whodathought that the Windows section of Microsoft's website would be where you can buy Windows from!

        "Come back soon" could be any time in the future, and certainly isn't a time of day as people above are asking for.

      Don't worry the confusion on how to buy the stupid thing pales in comparison to how to use the darn thing. I have a smart phone if I want to "download EVERY SINGLE APPLICATION" that should already be on a computer...I don't need nor want that requirement on my computer. Once people figure out how to buy it they are going to be sorely miserable on what they spent for a new OS that isn't user friendly in any regard. What a mistake!

    To install Windows 8 on a computer without Windows you need to buy the System Builders Pack but I don't know where we can get it in Aus...

    Microsoft website just changed - good sign for a midnight download?

    Oh well, thanks for having a crack at them about the full version details, pricing etc...

    Another question, which might be obvious but I would still like an official answer:

    If you upgrade an old copy of Windows to a version of Windows 8, can your old licence still be used for the original OS?
    (I.e. could I upgrade to windows 8, and then run a virtual machine using the older OS and the licence that was used to upgrade?)

    Reading this through class and getting Windows 8 and Stardocks Start Button. Gonna save for a USB multitiouch Touchscreen, and I am just gonna use it without a screen LOL.

    Still not upgrading... Windows 98SE forever!!!

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