Upgrading to Windows 8.1 from XP Home

Hello there, I am building a new PC this week, and the only thing left I need to order is the operating system; Windows 8.1. I am a student, and there is a student price upgrade available online for $69.99 which is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than buying a fresh copy (non OEM) of Windows 8.1.

Here is the link:

I have two questions:

1. Can I use this upgrade as a fresh install? Meaning when i build the PC and install my SSD / HDD, can I use this upgrade on an empty drive?

2. If I can't do the above, I just found a Windows XP Home Edition key in my office storage, that is unused. Can I install Windows XP initially, then use this student upgrade on Windows XP Home? The reason I question this is because it is "Windows XP Home ..... " and the link says the following:

To install Windows 8 Pro, you must be running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows 8 Release Preview. If you are upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you will have the ability to create back up media during the upgrade process. If you are upgrading from Windows XP SP3, back up media is available for purchase at the same time as Windows 8.

Obviously I am considering calling microsoft support about this, but they are closed so I figured I would ask all of you lovely people on here :).

4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrading windows home
  1. If the original Windows XP Home Edition Key is OEM, then you won't be able to use it legally (as it would be tied to the original mobo/cpu). If it is a retail version of Windows XP, then you would be able to. Starting with Windows Vista, I believe they took out the requirement to have Windows either installed on the PC or media to install the new version of Windows (upgrade), however - you have to call Microsoft to get it authenticated because the installation wasn't an upgrade.
  2. Windows 8 removed the typical OEM licensing - Windows 7 and older OEM was tied to the mobo/cpu - Windows 8 OEM just states that Microsoft doesn't provide support for the OS - it is tied to the manufacturer of the PC. You can still use the Microsoft websites for help - just no 800 number to call... They will still provide you with authentication of the software on the 800#.
  3. Best answer

    Installing XP on a modern PC is problematic due to lack of drivers for the hard disk controller (mass storage drivers)

    If the motherboard supports XP drivers and you have a Floppy disk controller on the motherboard you can add the driver on a floppy disk (but new motherboards supporting floppy disks are very rare nowdays. as are PCI floppy disk controller cards)

    Alternative if BIOS allows hard disk controller to be set as ATA (PATA) compatible instead of AHCI XP will install without adding extra AHCI mass storage driver.

    Or read up tutorials on how to integrate the mass storeage drivers into a copy of XP then re build a bootable XP Cd
    Then you would have to upgrade XP to (SP2 then) SP3

    Vista would be easier & quicker to install.

    With Windows Vista or 7 [upgrade DVD] you could install once without entering the licence key then from the running Windows Vista or 7 run the setup.exe on the Windows DVD.

    I expect this has been blocked for Win 8

    On my own PC most of my Windows are upgrade versions
    Win 98 to XP, put Vista in a new partition (using XP to upgrade from)
    then add 7 over top of Vista, then separate partition for 8 (which sees Win XP & 7 to upgrade from)
    [PC has been rebuilt & re activated many times]


    Mike Barnes
  4. Firstly, as a student you should be able to download win 8.1 for free from Microsoft DreamSpark.

    Secondly, win 8.1, unlike win8 comes as stand-alone installation, so just do a fresh install from an USB stick with the iso you'll download
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