Windows 9 Reportedly A Free Upgrade For Windows 8 Users

A Microsoft Indonesia executive let slip a potentially huge piece of news for Windows 9 a day ahead of the official announcement. Existing Windows 8 owners will be able to upgrade to the next version of the operating system for free.

The statements were originally picked up by Indonesian news site Detik (via BGR). According to the report, Microsoft Indonesia President Andreas Diantoro revealed that Windows 9 will be a free upgrade for all Windows 8 users. There’s no word on discounted or free upgrade paths for Windows 7 or Windows XP users.

Microsoft is taking the lead from smart devices like phones and tablets with the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 9 as well. Diantoro stated that users will be able to easily download the Windows 9 update from Microsoft and install it. This is what users have come to expect from iOS and Android devices and is also how Apple has released OSX updates for Macs.

The release of Windows 9 is seen largely as Microsoft’s attempt to undo the damage by the major changes brought with Windows 8. After the success of Windows 7, the company attempted to get rid of the Start button and introduced a touchscreen-like interface. This completely new interface confused left users confused and opened the door for third-party software makers to sell a Start button replacement.

Microsoft eventually got the message and brought the Start button back in a limited fashion with the Windows 8.1 update. The damage was done to the Windows 8 brand though and the company began working to address the concerns for both business and home users. Windows 9 represents a clean break from the Windows 8 branding and user interface.

Leak of Windows 9 showing the new Start button menu.

According to a leak round-up collected by PC World, Windows 9 will support virtual desktops. This will allow users to spread work across multiple desktops. Cortana, the Windows Phone Siri-like virtual assistant, may also be included plus a new notification center and support for Wi-Fi Sense that automatically signs users into public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Microsoft will officially unveil Windows 9 during an event on Tuesday, September 30. Whether the operating system, codenamed “Threshold,” will keep the name is unknown. Windows 9 has been pushed by the press just to have something to refer to. However, The Verge’s Tom Warren has been pushing the theory that Microsoft could just go with a “Windows” moniker and deliver continuous updates to the operating system.

What do you think of a free upgrade to Windows 9? Will that help reverse some of the bad mojo around Windows 8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

[Images via Microsoft, PC World]