If you’re one of many users who are still checking out the free preview copy of Windows 8, then the time has almost come to make a big decision. Should you bite the bullet and buy Windows 8? Or should you move back to Windows 7?
The third option – continue using the free preview version of Windows 8 – will not be an option after January 15, 2013. That’s when Microsoft is shutting down its Preview servers and letting the licenses expire.
However, that date doesn’t mean Windows 8’s preview version will immediately shut down. Instead, Microsoft is just making it very difficult to use the OS. As outlined in Microsoft’s End User License Agreement (which all Windows 8 preview users signed when they received the software, remember?), users have:
“…no right to use the software after the expiration date…starting from the expiration date, you may not be able to access any unsaved data used with the software. Any applications you receive through the Windows Store will also cease to be available to you in future versions, unless they are made available for re-download and you re-acquire them. You may not receive any other notice.”
Serious business! Keep reading to discover your options for upgrading away from Windows 8’s preview version:
-Pay $39.99 for the Windows 8 Pro download version (the $39.99 price point is only available until January 31, after which Microsoft will bump the price up to $199.99)
-To make upgrading to Windows 8 as easy as possible, download the Microsoft update assistant here
-Return to using Windows 7
-Switch to a free OS like Linux
Apparently, Microsoft will start sending out annoying pop-up notifications every two hours to Windows 8 preview users starting on January 1, 2013. So to make those notifications go away, choose one of the upgrade paths we’ve mentioned above.