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Where to get Windows 8 non-upgrade for an existing PC?

  1. #1

    Where to get Windows 8 non-upgrade for an existing PC?


    I have found many offers for Windows 8 Upgrades, and for Windows 8 pre-installed on new PCs.... but it seems difficult to find a full-licence Windows 8 for an existing PC which doesn't have a previous version of Windows on it. I have installed the Enterprise Evaluation on an old Shuttle PC, and it runs acceptably well, but will soon expire. I do not have a 'spare' WinXP or Win7 licence to upgrade, so I will need a full-licence version of Windows 8, but such does not appear to be generally available - not for download from Microsoft, certainly. Amazon have an 'OEM' version for 80; is that what I need? Or should I find an XP CD on Ebay, and 'upgrade from that'? I assume I wouldn't have to install it, but just 'show' Win8 the XP disc...

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  2. #2


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Windows 8 no longer has a retail version per se. You buy the system builder version, and if you use it for your own personal use then the Personal Use License applies.
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  3. #3


    Posts : 76
    Windows 8 Pro


    I downloaded the Windows 8 upgrade as an ISO - burned it to disc, formatted my drive wiping my Win7 install and installed 8. At no point did it ask me for my Windows 7 key, nor did it ask me to verify that I owned Windows 7 when I installed Windows 8.

    I haven't tried installing my Win7 on my other machine yet - so honestly I don't know if it will still activate or not, but I saw no mention or transaction of my Windows 7 key, unless the Upgrade Assistant sent and deactivated my Win7 key "underthehood". I'd be curious if anyone could verify this also.
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  4. #4
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  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by symbiont View Post
    I downloaded the Windows 8 upgrade as an ISO - burned it to disc, formatted my drive wiping my Win7 install and installed 8. At no point did it ask me for my Windows 7 key, nor did it ask me to verify that I owned Windows 7 when I installed Windows 8.

    I haven't tried installing my Win7 on my other machine yet - so honestly I don't know if it will still activate or not, but I saw no mention or transaction of my Windows 7 key, unless the Upgrade Assistant sent and deactivated my Win7 key "underthehood". I'd be curious if anyone could verify this also.
    The upgrade installer looks for a qualifying OS. If one is present, you can delete the OS partition or reformat it during the install, and the installer will "remember" that it was there.

    If you run the upgrade on a blank disk, you may still be able to install 8, but you can't activate the result with an upgrade key.

    I was surprised that even when I performed a custom (clean) install and deleted the old OS partition, some settings (IE favorites, desktop background) were carried over.

    I don't think the upgrade disables the key for the old OS. I once had to re-install 7 to run the 8 upgrade again. The short-lived 7 install activated successfully with the old key, on the same hardware.
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  6. #6


    Posts : 76
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by bobkn View Post
    The upgrade installer looks for a qualifying OS. If one is present, you can delete the OS partition or reformat it during the install, and the installer will "remember" that it was there.

    If you run the upgrade on a blank disk, you may still be able to install 8, but you can't activate the result with an upgrade key.
    As I said, I formatted the disk, no settings from my previous install were brought in as the previous install did not exist. I installed Windows 8 using the "upgrade" key I got when I purchased it, and it installed and activated just fine. So to go back to OP's point then, about not having a "spare" key - it seems someone doesn't need a spare since it doesn't deactivate your Win7 key - you simply need to have a Win7 key. Apparently "upgrade" just means "You get Windows 8 for $39.99 if you own a previous OS".
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  7. #7


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    It' not as cheap as I expected. If you can get hold of an old xp license for peanuts - you can do the upgrade dance.

    It checks your o/s before letting you order and download the $40 deal.

    It checks when you boot the dvd - you can format then.
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  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    It checks your o/s before letting you order and download the $40 deal.
    Could be dangerous - you might do the ordering on a different PC to the one you want Win8 for.
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  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by symbiont View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bobkn View Post
    The upgrade installer looks for a qualifying OS. If one is present, you can delete the OS partition or reformat it during the install, and the installer will "remember" that it was there.

    If you run the upgrade on a blank disk, you may still be able to install 8, but you can't activate the result with an upgrade key.
    As I said, I formatted the disk, no settings from my previous install were brought in as the previous install did not exist. I installed Windows 8 using the "upgrade" key I got when I purchased it, and it installed and activated just fine. So to go back to OP's point then, about not having a "spare" key - it seems someone doesn't need a spare since it doesn't deactivate your Win7 key - you simply need to have a Win7 key. Apparently "upgrade" just means "You get Windows 8 for $39.99 if you own a previous OS".
    When did you format the disk?

    If you did it during the Win8 upgrade, that's normal. The installer will remember that a qualifying OS was on the drive. I think that you might be in trouble if you used the installer to format the drive, and then stopped the installation.

    If you formatted the disk using a third party utility, and then tried to run the Win8 upgrade, the upgrade key ought to not activate the resulting installation. (You can enter the key at the start of the process, and the installation will proceed, but Win8 won't be activated. You'll see a message in the lower right corner of the desktop screen that says "build 9200", and you'll have all the limitations of an install that isn't activated.) There is no provision for entering a license key for the qualifying OS; it has to actually be installed. (Inconvenient.)

    Consider: you can get the upgrade license for $40 (Boxed version, $70). The System Builder copy (installs on a blank HD) is $130. Do you think that Microsoft is so generous (or foolish) to make the upgrade and System Builder licenses the same?
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  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Dogmatix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    It checks your o/s before letting you order and download the $40 deal.
    Could be dangerous - you might do the ordering on a different PC to the one you want Win8 for.
    I did exactly that. The PC I wanted the upgrade for was running Win 8 Enterprise Evaluation. The Upgrade Assistant won't let you buy an upgrade license from that OS. I ran the Assistant on a Win 7 X64 PC. I actually downloaded the upgrade from the Win 8 PC, using a link in the confirmation email.

    Oddly enough, I was able to use the Win 8 Ent. Eval. copy to qualify the Win 8 Pro upgrade. (That isn't supposed to work.) I had expected that I'd have to revert to the real quaifying OS (Win 7 Pro), but I didn't have to do that. Installed and activated normally.
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