At Windows.com, look for something called "Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant," a tool that checks your PC to ensure it will run the OS, takes your order, then kicks off the download and installation process.
I want something I can hold in my hands. How much for an upgrade on DVD? Microsoft will sell you one of those for Windows 8 Pro at the discounted price of $69.99.
From the hints on Newegg.com, one of the online retailers also selling the SKU, or "stock-keeping unit," the price for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade on physical media will jump to $199.99 after Jan. 31, 2013.
In other words, just like the $39.99 online upgrade offer, you should strike quickly.
The $30 surcharge for a DVD may seem steep, but Microsoft has actually done a little bit better by customers than rival Apple: In 2011, Apple sold a USB drive with OS X 10.7, also known as Lion, for $39 more than the download price. Apple didn't even bother to reprise the offer this year for Mountain Lion.
[Note: The Windows 8 Pro online upgrade lets you create a bootable installation DVD or USB drive, so unless you have a very slow Internet connection and want the media to save hours of dial-up agony, that's a less expensive way to get a DVD.]
I run Windows in a virtual machine (VM) on my Mac. What's the damage? Looks like $99.99 for Windows 8, $139.99 for Windows 8 Pro, is the cheapest bet for now.
Those are Newegg.com's pre-sale prices for what Microsoft is now calling "System Builder" -- formerly known as "OEM" -- an edition aimed at small-scale or homebrew PC makers, as well as users who want to run the OS in a virtual machine or in a dual-boot setup on a Mac or PC.
System Builder includes a license that allows for installation in a virtual environment, but offers one-time-use only. "We grant you the right to install [Windows 8] ... as the operating system on a computer that you build for your personal use, or as an additional operating system running on a local virtual machine or a separate partition," states the end-user license agreement (EULA) we've seen. "If you want to use the software on more than one virtual computer, you must obtain separate copies of the software and a separate license for each copy."
I already run older Windows in several virtual machines. How much do I pay? For each VM you upgrade -- up to a max of five per person -- you pay $39.99 to migrate to Windows 8 Pro from XP, Vista or Windows 7 through Jan. 31, 2013.