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Trying out Windows 8 does not seem to be the same as trying out Windows 7. There is currently no link available for a trial download.

In one of your previous articles, you mentioned the download link for Windows 7 so one could install it and test it and maybe buy it later. Is this also possible for Windows 8? I still run Windows XP, but I wouldn't mind switching to Windows 8. Is it really true that one can upgrade from Windows 8 from XP for only 29 Euros? It seems, well, unbelievably cheap.

In this excerpt from Answercast #77, I look at upgrading Windows XP to Windows 8 and if a "trial" version is available.

Trying out Windows 8

So, yes, there are a couple of questions here.

I know that the pricing of Windows 8 is definitely lower than most people have been expecting. I don't know if that's a limited time thing - but yes, you can purchase an upgrade copy for what I assume to be on the order of magnitude of what you described: 29 Euros. I think it's $49 here - at least for awhile.

I don't know when (or if) that price raises. But like I said, for the time being, it is actually quite cheap.

Upgrade from XP to Windows 8

Now, that being said, can you upgrade from Windows XP? Yes, I actually have an article on that, "Can I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8?"

Realize that it is very similar to the Windows 7 upgrade in that it really boils down to being a complete install. The Windows 8 updater actually does a good job of preserving your data, but everything else - your install programs, your settings, all that kind of stuff - is erased by the upgrade.

You'll have to reinstall all of your software from scratch.

So, if you're going to go that route, I typically recommend that you go ahead and back up first so you've got absolutely everything saved before you do your upgrade.

Test download of Windows 8

Now, can you get a download for Windows 8?

You know, I'm quite surprised (and hopefully one of my readers will prove me wrong), but right now I don't know of an equivalent download for Windows 8: a "trial" that you could download, install, and try. Something that would allow you to activate somewhere along the line - and if you didn't activate, if you chose not to buy, then of course, it would stop working.

Windows 7 has that and I've got that article for downloading Windows 7 images. I'm surprised that there doesn't appear to be anything equivalent for Windows 8.

Windows 8 for developers

Now, I will throw out one caveat. There is one download available. There will be a link with this article to it.

It is a download specifically for developers. It is a download that allows you to download Windows 8 "Enterprise Edition" and run it for 90 days. There's a catch... in fact, there's a couple of catches.

  • It is specifically for developers. In other words, it's not going to be the Home Edition, it's not going to be for pros. It's going to be the Enterprise edition, so it's going to have all of the bells and whistles that you may or may not want.

  • Second, there's no way to buy it; there's no way to activate it. There's no way to do anything to it other than use it for 90 days and then make it go away.

The reason I say that is because it is documented explicitly as expiring after 90 days and it cannot be upgraded. Which means: you can install it and use it for 90 days - but when you're at the end of the 90 days, there's nothing you can do. There's no place you can go. You now must install another operating system on whatever computer you installed that 90-day copy on in order to continue to use it.

So, it may be helpful, it might be a useful evaluation tool, but it's not the same thing as the actual copy of Windows that you would purchase and install on your machine.

Windows 8 trial unavailable

So, those are the only things I'm aware of.

I'm surprised; I'm hoping that this will change over time. Heck, I'm hoping that I'm wrong and that somebody will have stumbled across the actual downloads - and when I say "stumbled across," I do mean legal downloads. I'm not going to publish links (I'll remove them) for anything that turns to be an illegal file share copy of something. That isn't right.

Microsoft made Windows 7 available for downloading. I would hope that maybe eventually they'll make Windows 8 available for downloading as well.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6114 - December 10, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Camran Manikfan
December 10, 2012 8:48 PM

I think the Windows 8 Release Preview may suit his needs... Wikipedia has more information on that. You can use it till 15 January 2013, according to the license. Unless it's the same 'Developer Preview' thingy Leo is referring to. :)

Mark J
December 11, 2012 11:18 AM

That 29 ÔéČuro price is correct. I bought it for that price. As for the dollar price, I believe that is $39.

December 11, 2012 9:19 PM

When I bought my Windows 8, it came with a 30-day refund option. Check their download site for details.

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