Upgrading to Windows 8 will need to have Windows 7, Vista or XP already Installed & Product Key Handy

Prior to Windows 8, any Windows upgrade assistant you had bought allowed you to install the next Windows Version even when you did not have the prior OS installed i.e. You could have upgraded to Windows 7 from Windows XP even when you did not have Windows XP already installed on a computer. This seems to have changed starting with Windows 8, as confirmed in the comments by Microsoft Communication’s Manager  Brandon LeBlanc in the comments on the official page of Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro in 39.99 USD Post.

He says, that a previous version of Windows should be already installed and also you need to have the license for it. I am nor sure on that later part but does it mean, that Windows 8 upgrade will ask for the prior OS key before installing ?

Windows 8 Upgrade needs to have Existing Windows License of Prior Version

There seems to be two reasons for this :

  • One, Microsoft wants to stop illegally activated copy of Windows to upgrade to Windows 8, that cheap.
  • There is a bit of business decision involved here to increase sales of Windows 7, as this upgrade is way cheaper than buying a 200$ license for existing users.

Will you need the Product Key for Windows 7 or Windows XP  to upgrade ?

May be. The reason is Brandon says that when Windows 8 upgrade assistant checks for compatibility, it checks if the system is good to go, but he does not say if you will need to type in your Key. But possibly, if the upgrade assistant finds something sneaky, it will prompt you for the key.

This is definitely a great measure to stop users who have a cracked version of Windows running to upgrade to Windows 8 for this cheap.

Few more things which I found interesting.

  • When you use a Windows 8 Upgrade Pack, the option to format a drive and clean install is missing and is only available when you install using the DVD or have created a bootable USB.
  • You will be able to create a bootable media after Windows 8 upgrade assistant download is complete.
  • Even if, you have upgraded to Windows 8 RP from Windows 7 machine, you will be able to use the same upgrade path as long as you have the Key with you.

Thanks Ghacks for bringing this up.