Microsoft has revealed Windows 8.1’s final packaging as well as the pricing for the new version of the company’s flagship operating system, which remains the same as Windows 8’s price, though some changes have been made to how users upgrade.
Windows 8.1 will have a recommended retail pricing of $119.99 for the regular version and $199.99 for the Pro version. As previously announced, however, Windows 8.1 will be a free upgrade through the Windows Store for Windows 8 users. The operating system will be available for download via the Windows.com store or physical purchase through traditional retail outlets.
In addition to these copies, users who buy a device with the regular version of Windows 8.1 already installed will be able to buy the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack to upgrade to the Pro version of the new operating system, which will also come with Windows Media Center. Windows 8.1 Pro users will be able to buy Windows Media Center for an additional $9.99, the same upgrade cost currently available to Windows 8 users.
Unlike Windows 8, which could only be purchased through consumer outlets as as an upgrade, all versions of Windows 8.1 will be what Microsoft calls “full version software.” This will allow users to run the operating system in a virtual environment, a decision Microsoft made after receiving feedback from Windows 8’s release. Another change in Windows 8.1 installation process is the removal of direct upgrades form Windows XP and Vista. While users of Windows 7 will be able to keep their files and folders, users of the prior two Windows versions will need to do a clean install of Windows 8.1.
Though Windows 7 users will be able to keep their files, Microsoft says users will be required to “reinstall desktop apps including Microsoft Office.”
Windows 8.1 will be available for purchase on Oct. 18, though Windows 8 users will be able to download the upgrade on Oct. 17.