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Students who buy a new PC can score a free Xbox

Qualifying students who buy a Windows 7 PC can get a free Xbox 360 console and a $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Students trudging back to school can soften the blow with a free Xbox console and a $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8, as long as they buy a new PC.

Several PC vendors have cooked up the deal to attract students who need to buy a new computer. Here's how it works:

Buy a new PC for $699 or more from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Best Buy, Newegg, or the Microsoft Store. You'll have to show some proof that you're a student currently enrolled, either through a school e-mail address or ID number. You then get your free Xbox -- and the $14.99 offer to upgrade to Windows 8 when it debuts late October.

The deal among the various retailers is good until September 8, or until supplies last.

Students who already have an Xbox or don't want one can find a different deal at Staples. Buy a new PC, and get a $100 Visa prepaid card.

The $14.99 Windows 8 upgrade itself is valid for anyone who buys or bought a Windows 7 computer between June 2012 and January 2013. Throwing in the free Xbox is a part of the deal reserved just for students. Microsoft tempted students with a similar offer last year, kicking in a free 4GB Xbox 360 console for anyone who picked up a new PC between May 22 and September 3.