You may need your Windows 7 product key to upgrade to Windows 8.
Prior to the release of Windows 8, Microsoft announced an upgrade program for those who purchased new computers in the months leading up to the release of the new OS. These people would, of course, be buying Windows 7 machines, which would technically be out of date in less than a year. However, Microsoft recognized that it needed a program in place to ensure sales of Windows 7 machines wouldn't nose dive in the six months before Windows 8 was launched. Redmond came up with an upgrade program that would allow anyone that purchased a Windows 7 machine after June 2012 to upgrade to Windows 8 for just $15. However, this week it emerged that folks hoping to upgrade may need to have their Windows 7 product key on hand.
According to CNet, Microsoft is randomly asking some users to enter their Windows 7 product activation key to verify that their machine qualifies for the upgrade deal. Lance Whitney writes that he tried to upgrade three machines, all of which were bought after June 2 of this year. While one computer updated to Windows 8 without incident (all Whitney had to do was enter the name and manufacturer of his computer and the date he bought it), the other two returned a message of apology informing Whitney his computers were not eligible for the upgrade. A week later, he tried again, and was asked to enter his Windows 7 product key as additional verification. This time around, his computers were approved for the upgrade to Windows 8.
Microsoft says the process to determine which users need a Windows 7 activation key and which users don't is dynamic and based on a number of factors. Redmond said if you can't verify your purchase using the online system, you'll need to contact customer support and provide them with proof of purchase.
Have any of you had problems updating to Windows 8 via the upgrade program? Let us know in the comments below.