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Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 pricing, still free for Windows 8 owners

Microsoft has priced-up its forthcoming Windows 8.1 operating system and will offer a full version of the software for the same fee it has been asking for Windows 8.

The company has kept its pledge to offer the update free for existing Windows 8 owners, but those upgrading from the likes of XP, Vista and Windows 7 will pay $119 for the standard version and $199 for the Pro version.

In a post on its official Windows blog, Microsoft did not confirm prices for other markets, but by keeping the 8.1 prices the same as Windows 8, it’s safe to assume that Brits will be asked to fork out the same £99.99 and £189 the company currently wants for Windows 8.

Microsoft has also announced it will offer “full version software” at the same price, which means buyers won’t need to be running a previous version of Windows. That scenario is perfect for people who’re building PCs from scratch or run Windows 8.1 on a second hard drive or on a virtual machine.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Windows 10

Microsoft wrote: “One shift to note in Windows 8.1 is that we will be offering “full version software” at retail and online for download that does not require a previous version of Windows in order to be installed. The copy of Windows 8 that is currently available for sale at retail and online is an “upgrade version.” This shift allows more flexibility for customers in specific technical scenarios and is in response to feedback we’ve received. It will be easier for those consumers who want to build PCs from scratch, run Windows 8.1 in Virtual Machine (VM) environments, or run Windows 8.1 on a second hard drive partition.”

The company also acknowledged those running the standard version of Windows 8.1 will be able to upgrade to Pro for $99.99 (about £63) later this year through its ‘Pro Pack.’

Microsoft is planning on rolling out the update in mid-October. By that time it is likely that new versions of the Microsoft Surface RT and Microsoft Surface Pro tablets will be available to buy too.

Can Windows 8.1, and the return of the start button, cure the perceived ills of Windows 8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.