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Can I take advantage of $40 Windows 8 if I don't have an older Windows?
January 19, 2013 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I currently don't have any version of Windows installed on my PC (it's a Mac). I would like to install Windows on a Bootcamp partition. I noticed that Microsoft has a special offer where they are selling a Windows 8 download for $40 through Jan. 31. That's a good price for me. The possible catch: Microsoft seems to be saying that I need to have an earlier version of Windows installed in order to use that download. I can't quite tell whether they are serious about this. Do I really need to have a preexisting Windows install to take advantage of the $40 Windows 8 offer?

For clarity: this is a question about what Microsoft is selling in their $40 deal. Is the download they're selling good enough to allow me to install Win 8 on my Mac, even though I do not have a previous version of Windows installed? If it won't, what's a good alternative?
posted by grobstein to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Legally, yes, you need a pre-existing Windows install to take advantage of the $40 Windows 8 offer. Any other answer violates the license agreement you make with Microsoft.

That said, you can install an "upgrade" onto a clean partition (albeit violating the license), with the caveat that you will have to download the upgrade from a Windows-based computer. You will want an x64 copy of Windows to match the Intel Core architecture of your Mac, so you'd want a Windows x64-based computer to download the upgrade because Microsoft will provide you with an upgrade based on the architecture of the computer that downloads the upgrade. Some instructions are here, but that's a very arbitrary link I found with a quick Google search. The term you're lucking for is "clean install" of the upgrade; many enthusiasts like to do it to avoid having leftover "cruft" from previous installs.
posted by saeculorum at 10:33 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Something to consider (aside from the legality) before taking advantage of that, Windows 8 doesn't just "upgrade" Windows 7 - It has an entirely new look and feel. You can eventually get used to it, but by virtually all accounts, most people who liked Win7 absolutely loathe Win8.

On the flip side of that, you can now get "slightly used", but legal (the burden to verify the seller didn't keep a copy rests with the seller, not the buyer) copies of Win7 for basically that same price.
posted by pla at 10:40 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The completely legal way of doing what you want to do is buy the "System Builder" version of Windows 8, which includes a license that allows you to install on a system that does not have a previous Windows license.

For instance, you could get the Windows 8 Professional or Windows 8 System Builder versions that would be what you're looking for.
posted by saeculorum at 11:00 AM on January 19, 2013


Is the download they're selling good enough to allow me to install Win 8 on my Mac, even though I do not have a previous version of Windows installed? If it won't, what's a good alternative?

No, you are required to own a previous version of Windows. Even if you're doing a clean install their installer wants to verify a previous installation anyway.

You could likely get a Vista license from someone for free without too much trouble as they're not in demand at all and Vista qualifies for the upgrade.

Alternately you could buy a copy of Windows 7 used from someone for around the same price as pla suggests.
posted by ODiV at 11:14 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Grobstein, check your MeMail.
posted by punilux at 1:06 PM on January 21, 2013


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