The release of Windows 8 is only a few months away, but that doesn’t mean you should hold off on buying a new PC. If you purchase a new Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013, you will be eligible for a special $14.99 Windows Upgrade Offer, netting you a digital upgrade copy of Windows 8 Pro.
This special pricing applies to all eligible Windows 7 PCs in any of the 131 markets with a valid OEM Certificate of Authenticity. The only other caveat is that you must be running Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate. Those with Windows 7 Starter or Enterprise need not apply.
Microsoft plans to make the OS upgrade available for download day-and-date with the General Availability (GA) release of Windows 8 this fall. The download will remain active on the Windows Upgrade Offer website until February 28, 2013, and comes with 90 days of technical support. Each upgrade is restricted to one PC, and you’re only allowed to redeem a maximum of five upgrades per person.
If you plan to purchase a new computer over the summer, the Windows Upgrade Offer is a great deal. The important question, however, is whether or not you want to wait for the next generation hardware, which the manufacturers plan to release alongside Windows 8. Current devices will run Windows 8 just fine, but the upcoming hardware has been designed to take advantage of the new capabilities included in the OS. For example, Microsoft notes that “Windows 7 touch-enabled PCs may not be as responsive and gestures won’t be as precise as a touchscreen designed for Windows 8 and touchscreens supporting fewer than five simultaneous touch points may not be compatible with some Windows 8 features or apps purchased through the Windows Store.”
As usual, if you already have a computer running Windows, you’ll be able to pick up a standalone copy of Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro for an as-yet-unspecified price.