Ahead of Windows 8.1’s official launch on Oct. 18, Microsoft has opened up pre-orders for the revamped OS. The update itself is free for existing Windows 8 users, but for those that haven’t yet jumped into Microsoft’s touch-based ecosystem, prices start at $119 for Windows 8.1 and $199 for Windows 8.1 Pro. Foregoing Apple’s digital-only model, both copies of the OS come on DVDs, though current owners can get it through the Windows Store.
Microsoft just recently started advertising the features being added in Windows 8.1, including the addition of a Start button, so the hype machine is indeed in full swing. The update, overall, seems more like a small evolution, with some acknowledgements to Microsoft’s past.
We’ll see if the additions convince users to switch over. Once Windows 8.1 is officially available, we’ll start to see new computers launching with the OS pre-installed, as well as Microsoft’s own revamped Surface lineup.