At least one Office Depot store is already upgrading PCs to Windows 8.1 RTM

If you buy or service your PCs over at an Office Depot store, you might be able to get your machine upgraded to the RTM version of Windows 8.1 well ahead of the planned October 18th release date for the OS. A Neowin reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, has informed us that the Office Depot store where this person is employed is already upgrading customers to Windows 8.1, if they purchase their premium setup bundle.

It's currently unknown if all Office Depot stores are offering this kind of service to its customers. We have emailed the company for comment.

Our tipster also informed us that the same store location has also updated all of the demo PCs on the store floor to Windows 8.1 RTM, so there's a chance that if you walk into an Office Depot store you can go ahead and check out a PC running Windows 8.1 right now.

The store has also received their Windows 8.1 retail box copies, but our tipster was unable to get any pictures of them. As we reported earlier today, Microsoft has started taking pre-orders on its own for the core version, priced at $119.99, along with the Pro edition at $199.99.

Thanks again to our tipster for the info and images!

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31 Comments

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Tartarus said,
Yes, if you are running Win8, 8.1 will be a free upgrade via Windows Update/ Windows Store.

Kinda wonder since I bought my laptop which came with 8.1 if the free upgrade would still stand? I'll just wait and see!

Somebody should lose their job over this: Windows 8.1 is not available in retail channels, so that means the software being installed is the MSDN or Technet version and that's not for retail availability either (and not for personal use at all, really, according to the EULA/ToS for each subscription).

This is exactly the kind of crap that caused Microsoft to decide to end the Technet subscription programs in the first place: people buying subscriptions and then using the software for personal use - or even worse, buying up subs and then selling the keys and using the profits to buy more subs, more keys, etc in a vicious circle of sorts.

Stupid people... they're really going to be the death of us all someday.

What? This is the official internal copy licensed to computers sold at Office Depot Microsoft sends to us. There was no technet sub used here.

It's probably some rogue kid who works in the service department. Thinks he's doing people a favor but really might just get himself and his store in trouble over it.

You're talking out your butt. This is the internal copy Microsoft sent to us. I do only what my managers ask me to do.

Edited by f0rk_b0mb, Oct 3 2013, 6:59pm :

Back when I worked for the Big Blue Box we had hard dates to follow. When the Xboxx 360 was released, a store in our state put one on display early, that store was forbidden from future midnight releases and given a smaller stock of 360s.
Stores putting stuff out early is understandable, but street dates exist for a reason and managers/staff could get in really big trouble with their corporate overlords if they aren't careful.

"A Neowin reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, has informed us..."

It's not hard to work out who it is if you have read the "Windows 8.1 to be Released VERY Soon" forum thread. Might be an idea to remove the thread if he's bothered by it.

Tartarus said,
I changed my handle. Thank You for your concern.

No worries , also your old name is still in your sig too just so you know!

I cant see anyone been bothered by you taking a few photos, however I guess you never know these days.

I don't know 8.1's pricing off the top of my head, but this can't be right: "the core version, priced at $119.99, along with the Pro edition at $199.99."

Yeah, but those prices should be the standalone prices, if you don't have Windows 8, but the prices mentioned in the article are the same for both Core and Pro, that can't be right.

BAV0 said,
Yeah, but those prices should be the standalone prices, if you don't have Windows 8, but the prices mentioned in the article are the same for both Core and Pro, that can't be right.

119 is a different number than 199.

That's not what that email said..it said that distributors can start shipping Windows 8.1 to system builders and resellers as soon as they get it, not that the system builders and resellers can begin to sell Windows 8.1 before the GA date.

Dot Matrix said,
Ugh... Three weeks. Why must Microsoft make us wait...?

You own a Windows 8 licence, nothing is stopping you from getting the untouched ISO from MSDN / Technet and upgrading. Surprised you of all people have waited so long Dot Matrix!

InsaneNutter said,

You own a Windows 8 licence, nothing is stopping you from getting the untouched ISO from MSDN / Technet and upgrading. Surprised you of all people have waited so long Dot Matrix!

Btw, can't use Surface Pro's (oem) key with 8.1 iso from msdn/technet, nor can you upgrade from it. Kinda knew it already, but tried anyway. Didn't work. Grrr....

I considered burning one of my keys, but decided against it, seeing how it comes out in less than 3 weeks.

letmesee said,

Btw, can't use Surface Pro's (oem) key with 8.1 iso from msdn/technet, nor can you upgrade from it. Kinda knew it already, but tried anyway. Didn't work. Grrr....

I considered burning one of my keys, but decided against it, seeing how it comes out in less than 3 weeks.

Is that something unique to just the surface? I was able to upgrade a Dell XPS 12 which came with 8.0 to 8.1. All you need to do is upgrade using the "generic install key" and then enter your 8.0 key into Windows after the upgrade is done. The 8.1 installer only accepts 8.1 keys but Windows 8.1 itself accepts either 8.1 or 8.0 keys and they both activate perfectly fine.

letmesee said,

Btw, can't use Surface Pro's (oem) key with 8.1 iso from msdn/technet, nor can you upgrade from it. Kinda knew it already, but tried anyway. Didn't work. Grrr....

I considered burning one of my keys, but decided against it, seeing how it comes out in less than 3 weeks.

You should be able to using the default key like mrp04 mentioned, i've done that on a couple of Samsung laptops where the OEM key was not accepted by the Windows 8.1 install. After installing I simply changed key, enter the OEM key and it activates fine.

A minor inconvenience, however i've been enjoying 8.1 for weeks now. It certainly works on the Surface as people on the My Digital Life forums have done that both on the RT version and the Pro.

I am running RTM 8.1 on my surface pro using the key from the bios, I installed using the VLK (as an upgrade) key that doesn't activate and then changed it to my real OEM key that was in the bios. of course i backed up my original key and put it in a text file before i did it. Also I downloaded the latest August driver and firmware pack from MS before.

Why hide ?? As per as I know, its legal since MS policy do allow OEM and system vendors roll out as soon as they receive their copy so I wonder why this store wishes to stay in shadow ????