Back when Microsoft released the Windows 7 RC builds, there wasn’t anyway to upgrade to a final retail copy of the OS without performing a complete system wipe or using a hack. The same won’t be true with Windows 8, however, with Microsoft serving up an FAQ list that indicates users will be able to upgrade from the Release Preview to the final release. Anyone wishing to upgrade will be able to buy a license for $39.99 and upgrade accordingly.
It’s not a totally seamless transition, however. While personal data files will be carried across in the upgrade, applications, settings, and users accounts will be wiped. Microsoft also hasn’t said what options those running earlier Windows 8 builds will have, although we’re going to assume that a direct update won’t be possible.
Microsoft made waves the other day when it announced that anyone looking to upgrade from Windows XP, Vista, or 7 to WIndows 8 would only pay $39.99. Both upgrade and full install options will be offered, with an Upgrade Assistant telling users what can be carried across to the new version of the operating system. Microsoft hasn’t yet announced when Windows 8 will ship, although it’s expected sometime this Fall.