Windows 8: Only Upgrades On Sale In Australia

Windows 8: Only Upgrades On Sale In Australia

Want to buy a full version of Windows 8 to install on a new machine? You’re out of luck. Microsoft just confirmed at its Australian Windows 8 launch that the only offers on sale today are an upgrade for existing Windows machines to Windows 8 Pro.

We already knew that Windows 8 Pro upgrades cost $39.99 online or an easily-discounted $69.99 for a boxed copy. But many readers have been asking what they’ll have to pay for a copy that can be installed on new hardware.

Microsoft’s official answer at its launch event: you can’t do that yet. There’s no official local price for a full copy of Windows 8 Pro, or for any regular version of Windows 8. I couldn’t quite believe this when I asked, so I got MD Pip Marlow to confirm it. Twice.

That won’t stop people ordering from overseas. But it seems like a very backward move in terms of getting geeks enthused about Windows 8. What do you think?

Update: As several commenters have pointed out, there are OEM copies available from local sites. These aren’t technically supposed to be sold on their own, though the rule isn’t often enforced. The fact remains that “official” copies of Windows which can be installed by anyone (not just a system builder) have not been launched for Australia.


  • What is stopping people from simply obtaining an .iso of the non-upgrade copy and using their “upgrade” keys/serial numbers once its installed? This is what I did for the PC I built last year and a cheap Win7 Pro upgrade I got via Uni.

    The only thing I could thing of is that its against the EULA? Or does Windows 8 check against this sort of thing (unlike Windows 7)?

    • At end of a bare metal install (it asks for the product key at the start), the upgrade tries to activate and states that it cannot because it is an upgrade version.

      At the end of a reinstall, it is actually silently activated (as shown in the bottom section of the computer properties dialog).

      Note that an install requires a previously installed older Windows version OR an empty partition (that is, no volume). You CANNOT install it in an empty volume formatted with your own sector size.

      • If you can do a fresh install why is the upgrade version any different than a “full” OEM version at three times the price. If you can do a fresh install on a PC that already has Win7 why can’t you do it on a new hard drive? Surely if I want to install Win8 on a new hard drive MS wouldn’t be so dumb as to force me to first install Win7 so I could “upgrade”!

        • i did my own research after asking the question…only the ‘upgrade’ is currently available , meaning that yes, if you want to install on another harddrive or new partition you need to have a previous OS installed…full version Win 8, and pricing, is yet to be released

          the ‘fresh install’ the commenters here are talking about is reinstalling Win 7 x64 and then upgrading to Win 8 x64…it is not possible to ‘upgrade’ from 32 to 64, everything gets wiped.

  • Maybe LH can do some research into PLE’s stock? Why would an official spokesperson for MS say it’s not available if it was..

    Seems a bit odd to not release it “officially” though.. did they give a reason for that?

  • I dunno if I should upgrade my Bootcamp partition to run 8 or stick with 7. Although I suspect it’ll be a while before Bootcamp plays happily with 8, so probably best to wait it out …

  • Where’s the upgrade link on the microsoft site? It keeps redirecting to a ‘coming soon’ page.

    I thought it had already launched and they would be relying on the hype to get sales quickly. Have I missed something?

  • So, the scenarios is that on launch day, you can’t do a clean install, right? How many people on day 1 are going to have a clean, 5 month or older system that they want to do an install on? If you wanted that, the RC is still kicking, isn’t it?

    Personally, i think this is just rewarding loyal users (are there “loyal” Windows users?) by giving them a cheap upgrade. Everyone else can wait, since they by definition already are.

    • Would anyone realistically upgrade Win7 to Win 8 in situ? A new release is a perfect time to decrud. Upgrading, as opposed to clean install, simply carries the crud forward. For previous release of Windows I’m pretty sure that all that was required was to supply a valid key for an earlier version in order to do a clean install.

      • Don’t say that: I’m going to try an in situ over the weekend!

        I’m pretty sure I recall having to have installed a previous version to upgrade to XP Pro, though I’m willing to be called on that. I was in a seriously messed up frame of mind when I did it, and it was 9 years ago. Plus, it was upgrading from ME (and I’m one of the 5-10 people worldwide who thought ME was great).

        I don’t really disagree with you, but I figure that in the combined effort of backing up, blasting and re-installing an existing box, slapping an instance of Win8 over the top is just one extra step in an activity that’ll cost half-a-day at least anyway. It’s inconvenient and annoying, but hey, it’s Microsoft! That’s why we love them.

        • A few nervous moments there while I waited to see what would happen at the end of the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant download process.

          I had visions of my laptop being wiped as Win 8 did its thing. But its all very controlled and I now have an ISO with Windows 8 Pro. Tomorrow (or more accurately later today) I will discover if I can install this on a new blank SSD replacing my existing boot drive.

          At the end of the download you get 3 options. 1 – install now, 2 – Install by creating media (can create bootable USB or ISO), 3 – Install later from desktop.

          • Interested to see how you go with this. If the fresh install just requires a previous key, I’ll consider doing it over the next few days.

            If it requires an old OS to write over, there was a way with Win 7 to do a fresh OEM installs and a change a registry key to activate with the upgrade key. Might work here…

          • Apparently worries at all. I replaced the hard drive in my laptop (a three year old Core 2 Duo Dell) with a brand new 128Gb SSD. Stuck in the Windows 8 Pro “Upgrade” DVD created in the previous step in this thread and installed. Good as gold – much to my amazement and delight. It uses about 14 Gb of the 118Gb available and goes like the proverbial. Now the matter of re-installing a whole bag of applications but at least I’ll have a nice clean install. Next step is to put all the data I previously had on a 500Mb drive on the laptop on a NAS and wait for the Surface to arrive!

            Stop Press:
            Went to Activate and got an error message saying that the particular licence key is only valid for upgrades NOT clean installs. Back to the drawing board with a fresh install of WIndows 7 on the SSD followed by a repeat of the above. Doh!!!

          • Just reinstall immediately after that validation error message. It will be silently (no dialog) activated after that (as shown on the computer properties dialog).

          • It’s finally working. I did a clean install of the original Win7 Premium, that came with the laptop, on the reformatted SSD. Then with Win 7 running, stuck the Win 8 Pro upgrade DVD in and upgraded. When asked what I wanted to retain from Win 7 I said “nothing”. There is still a 15 Gb Windows.Old folder on the drive which is proving immune to deletion so far.

            You have to run the upgrade from the version of Windows that you are upgrading from. You can’t do an upgrade by booting from the Win 8 Pro upgrade DVD!

            Bit of a long winded process but at least I now know what works and what doesn’t.

          • I’m going to try the method below, as it worked with Windows 7. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get around to it.

          • You can do a bare metal install.

            The first install will fail activation. The second will produce an activated system.

            The partition must have no volume on it. You cannot install into an empty volume formatted with your own sector sizes.

          • Hi Patanjali

            Never thought of trying that! Also saw this over on the PC Authority website which implies you can do it on a pre-formatted drive but probably need to reformat as part of the first install.

            “It works similarly to Windows 7 upgrades – do it twice. You can install from a formatted disc but it will not activate because it is the wrong product key for an upgrade. You then install it a second time, as an upgrade to itself and it will activate. I did a custom install the first time, booting from the Win 8 DVD and deleted the old Win 7 partition and then installed Win 8. Then launched the Win 8 setup from the desktop and installed it as an upgrade and was then able to activate it with the upgrade key. I did it today with success. It does not give any indication of a problem the first time until you try to activate it, when it displays the invalid product key message.”

  • I experienced a similar problem upgrading from XP to 7, whilst upgrading the main hard drive to solid state. Did a full install from the upgrade disc, then did an upgrade from the SAME disc and it worked OK

    • It works, but you must enter the product key at the start, resulting in a failed activation because it is an upgrade version.
      A reinstall will produce an activated system.

  • It avoids confusion. 99% of people looking to buy it retail today will ether be looking for it on a new PC or to upgrade an old one. Chances are if you’re building your own PC you’ll know where to go.

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