There are different free and paid technical support options available, depending on which version of Windows 8 you purchased. A popular free option is the Windows 8 community support called Ask the community. The support site also includes its official Knowledge Base and FAQs that cover almost every Microsoft product. The mostly generalised answers can point you in the right direction, but may not help solve your specific issue. If a technical issue becomes prominent, Microsoft occasionally posts a fix on its support site’s homepage. All versions of Windows 8 have access to these free services.
The full version
If you want the full version of Windows 8, you’ll need the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) edition. The OEM is a requirement if you want to build your own PC or install a fresh version of Windows 8 on an empty drive, but you can also use it to run a virtual machine alongside previous versions of Windows, or on a Mac via Boot Camp. You won't be able to overwrite a previous version of Windows when installing from an OEM edition without wiping the drive first. The OEM is available in Basic and Pro editions for about $99 and $149 respectively, but Microsoft has restricted sales of the OEM edition to PC component suppliers, so you won’t find it at major retail chains.
Ask yourself whether an easy-to-install upgrade that includes 90 days of free personal support is worth the premium. The OEM may cost less, but you’ll have to strip your hard drive of all software and the operating system, which requires time and technical know-how. However, if you plan to purchase the upgrade to Pro version for the free support, to make it worth your while you’d have to call Microsoft at least three times in the 90-day free period to cover the difference between the OEM and Upgrade edition.
Aussies are paying up to twice as much as Americans for Windows 8 upgrades, and 2.5 times as much for the Pro Pack. Downloading Windows 8 in the US costs $119.99 for Basic and $199.99 for Pro versus $149.99 and $399.99 in Australia. The Pro Pack (upgrade from Windows 8 Basic to Pro costs only $99.99 to download in the US, compared with $249.99 here. If you try to download Windows 8 from the US site, the installer detects your IP address and localises the costs before you buy it. Visit our article on Geoblocking for more information.