Windows 8 Upgrade - Some More Details
With the release of W8 upgrade at only $40 and the quick boot times I have experienced along with stable operation, I think this is a great option for the CarPC. I am also going to upgrade my media PC in the living room. Both have licensed versions of XP Pro, the carPC is an OEM on the laptop, the other a Home built with a purchased version.
My concern was would I have to have the previous OS installed to use this upgrade so I contacted MS via chat and here is what I am being told:
You can download the 3G upgrade, install it directly from the file or burn a disc, install it and just use your COA number from your original XP install to validate it. He sounded slightly unsure of this using expressions like "I believe" but I am going to give it a shot and see. If he is correct, this is a low cost easy way to upgrade from XP,Vista using a clean hard drive which is what I was looking for.
I'll go ahead and try this and post here how it went unless someone else has already done it and can confirm right away.
Here is the chat log if anyone is interested:
Thank you for choosing Microsoft Store. An Answer Tech will be with you shortly.
You are now chatting with 'Terry'.
Hello Terry: Hello Terry
Terry: Thanks for contacting Microsoft Store Chat! How can I help you today?
Hello Terry: I want to upgrade two PC's to W8. I'll start with the first one. It's an HP laptop that I broke the screen on so I now use it as a carPC permanently conencted in my vehicle to a touch screen in the dash. The original HD has the image from HP on it with XP pro. I replaced the HD and have been running various releases of W8 over the last year. So there are no traces of XP on it. I have the original drive stored and working but I do not want to run it. How do I upgrade the newer drive?
Terry: I'd be happy to help you with that today!
Terry: Just a moment while I look into that for you.
Terry: OK you can upgrade from the release preview.
Hello Terry: Thats whats on it now so the upgrade will work with no further changes to the drive?
Hello Terry: Wow, that's a bit of a loophole on the whole "upgrade" deal seeing as release preview is free but that works for me. That also solves my problem on my living room media PC as I have a retail licensed version of XP with disc for it but formatted and ran W8 as well. So what happens a year later when I want to format one of these machines and re install everything? What will I need to get the upgrade to install again?
Terry: I beleive it will require your product key form the previous version of windows you had to confirm youhad windows.
Hello Terry: Well then I could do that this time right? The serial for XP is on the bottom of the laptop and I have to COA for the XP disc I bought for the LR PC. So I can format both these machines again and start fresh with this upgrade, correct?
Terry: Yes that should be all you need
Hello Terry: Perfect, I like fresh installs! Have a great day.
Terry: The downloaded will make this all clear to you as you go thru the upgrade process.
Hello Terry: Excellent, thank you.
Terry: Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
Hello Terry: Just 2 more quick questions: what size is the download and is it an ISO I must burn to a DVD like the preview versions?
Terry: It is around a 3 gb file and it will give you the option to create a disk but can be just downloaded.
Hello Terry: Great,thank you. Bye
Important Information for those buying the Upgrade version
As posted earlier, MS said I could do a fresh install of W8 upgrade if I had my COA from XP available (whatever that meant) So I did the install asking W8 to "save nothing" but that translates to save the previous install as "windows.old". I noticed a few settings that it seemed to remember from my previous install so I thought I would just format the drive once and for all and re-install fresh. After doing that, it asked for my serial #, I entered it and it declined it. So with a little searching online, I came up this this:
It sounds like MS really wants to get this OS out there so they are trying to be aggressive with pricing but at the same time stretching the limits of what an upgrade is suppose to be.
Anyway, I followed the instructions above and it did activate so this does work on a clean drive. I guess technically, this would allow you to cheap MS out of the full version pricing but they are not even willing to sell a full version yet and I technically am legal as I have my XP COA for this machine plus was advised by them that I could do a fresh install.
For archive purposes here is the gist of what the link suggests if you have the same issue I did.
"Windows 8 users who noticed that the operating system canít be activated after the installation may want to try the following workaround that worked to activate when installing Windows 7 using an upgrade on a clean PC.
Open regedit by pressing Windows-q, entering regedit and selecting the result from the list of hits.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/
Change MediaBootInstall from 1 to 0
Go back to the start screen and enter cmd there.
Right-click Command Prompt and select to run it as administrator.
Type slmgr /rearm on the command line and hit enter.
Reboot Windows now.
Run the activation utility afterwards, enter your product key to activate Windows."