Windows 8: Adding Features (Anytime Upgrade)
Windows Vista and Windows 7 shipped in different editions and systems could be upgraded to an edition with more functionality with an “Anytime Upgrade” pack. In the case of Windows Vista, the Anytime Upgrade packs required a full reinstallation of the operating system using physical media, but Windows 7 Anytime Upgrades could be purchased online and upgraded incrementally with only a new product key and some additional downloads.
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have a similar functionality called Add Features To Windows which is located in the Control Panel. The applet checks your version of Windows 8/8.1 and offers appropriate upgrades
- If you have Windows 8 (base), you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro edition for $249.99.
- If you have Windows 8.1 (base), you can upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro edition for $129.
- If you have Windows 8/8.1 Pro, you can add the Windows 8/8.1 Media Center Pack for $9.99.
- If you have Windows 8.1 with Bing, you cannot upgrade. The dialog will prompt “Sorry, online purchase isn't available in your region. In most places, you can go to an electronics store to buy a product key”. This is because Windows 8.1 with Bing is a special low-price OEM edition sold with low-end hardware. However, Windows 8.1 with Bing will upgrade to Windows 10 Home. This may then be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.
(Note: prices are accurate at July 2013 and shown in Australian dollars.)
Windows 8/8.1 is roughly equivalent to Windows 7 Home Basic.
Windows 8/8.1 Pro is roughly equivalent to Windows 7 Professional but also includes BitLocker which was previously only available in Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise.
The Windows 8/8.1 Media Center Pack contains the Media Center components previously found in Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise. Note, because Windows 10 will remove the Media Center Pack, it is suggested that this upgrade option be avoided.