How do I get Windows 8?

Windows 8.1 Lock Screen

Maybe you’re thinking about upgrading your Windows XP, Vista, or 7 computer to Windows 8.  Or maybe, you’re not quite ready to make the change but you want to know what’s involved.

Getting your hands on Windows 8 isn’t really that hard.  Here are three things you can do to give it a spin.

1. Walk into a Microsoft Store

If you live in a city or urban town you might be within the proximity of a Microsoft Retail Store.  Currently there are over 40 locations.  To find the one nearest you enter your zip-code in the Store Finder or browse the Store list.

Walk in and tell the friendly Microsoft representative that you want to try Windows 8.  Yes, they’ll inundate you with features and prices but what sales team doesn’t do that?  The key thing is to play with the software so you can see how dramatically different it is from anything Microsoft has ever released.  The Start Screen, Live Tiles, Windows Store and Faster Startup are a few of the most conspicuous differences between Windows 8 and older versions.  But it’s also has a completely revised Task Manager, native support for USB 3 and, believe it or not, excellent antivirus capabilities with Windows Defender.

2. Upgrade to Windows 8

The other option is to upgrade your computer to Windows 8.  To get started just download the upgrade assistant, install it on your computer and click through the Wizard.

There are two upgrades for purchase:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro

If you simply want to try out Windows 8 on your personal computer then you should go for the plain vanilla copy of Windows 8 which is $119.99 USD.  The Pro version includes everything the basic version does plus data encryption and the ability to join a corporate domain.

3. Try the latest version of Windows for Free

Windows 8.1 is the latest version of Windows and is currently in the public preview stage which means you can download the full operating system for free.  What’s even better, you don’t even need to replace your version of Windows XP, Vista or 7 to use it.  Using a VM, you can install the complete copy of Windows 8.1 in a virtual environment and run it as a Guest OS on your system.

In my opinion this is the best route because it costs nothing and gives you a head start into what Microsoft is planning to ship next month.

The Bottom Line

How do you get Windows 8 you ask?  Simple: you can visit a Microsoft Store near your job or home to give it a test drive or you can upgrade for $119.99 USD.

However, if you’re like me and like free better than fee, you’ll simply install the latest version of Windows in Virtual Box and be done with it.

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Posted in How To, Windows 8, Windows 8.1