Finally, the day has arrived, Microsoft previewd the Windows 8 Consumer Preview at Mobile World Congress 2012.
The consumer preview let consumers try out the new OS without buying, and is an upgarde to previously Developers Preview.
Microsoft revealed that the Developer Preview received "more than 3 million downloads."
"With Windows 8, we reimagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one," said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft. "The Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a no-compromises approach to using your PC."
Sinofsky, also said that they have "made over 100,000 changes for the Consumer Preview version compared to the Developer Preview which launched back in September."
Here are some key new updates in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview:
- Broad range of product changes and improvements
"From completing the user experience for touch, keyboard and mouse to refining the development platform, the Consumer Preview improves performance, quality and reliability across all subsystems. With the added features, it represents a more complete view of the capabilities of Windows 8," Sinofsky said.
- Windows Store with new apps
Windows 8 Consumer Preview marks the beta opening of the Windows Store, which is filled with a variety of new Metro style apps from both third-party developers and Microsoft.
During the Consumer Preview, these apps are available to try and experience at no cost to users.
The Windows Store will offer personalized recommendations, and Windows 8 gives users the ability to take their apps and settings with them across multiple PCs, making it easy to discover and try new apps while offering developers the greatest opportunity of any platform.
- Connecting to the cloud across Windows-based PCs and Windows Phone
Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers seamless integration with the content people care about across their devices. "An optional additional sign-on with a Microsoft account provides access to a host of features, including the ability to roam all settings, use cloud storage, communicate with email, calendar and contacts, and connect to a broad range of services. Your connection to the cloud works across your Windows-based PCs and your Windows Phones," said Sinofsky.
- Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5 provides an edge-to-edge user interface that is all about less browser and more Web. Fast and fluid, Internet Explorer is hardware-accelerated to enable Web performance.
- Preview of new hardware capabilities
At the event, Microsoft also showcased Windows 8 running on a wide range of new x86- and ARM-based reference hardware.
This hardware will be available to select developers for trial and testing as previously announced.
Also, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business published today provides a detailed look at the many new and improved features in Windows 8. The guide is designed as an accurate source of information that can help businesses understand how Windows 8 enables users to be ready and productive practically anywhere, allows for a personalized user experience, and provides IT with more secure, easy-to-manage intelligent infrastructure.
Downloads & Resources links:
Product Key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J
- Windows Consumer Preview site
- Windows Preview site
- Windows 8 CP x64 (English) - (3.3 GB) Sha 1 hash - 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749
- Windows 8 CP x86 (English) (2.5 GB) Sha 1 hash - E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39
- Windows 8 CP Other languages
- Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business
- Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview
RSAT for Windows 8 Consumer Preview enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on computers that are running Windows Server "8" Beta from a remote computer that is running Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
- Windows 8 Consumer Preview PlayReady PC Runtime v2.3 (x64) for Windows 8 Consumer Preview
- Windows 8 Consumer Preview PlayReady PC Runtime v2.3 (x86) for Windows 8 Consumer Preview
- Windows 8 CP Admin Tools
- Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) is a collection of tools and documentation that you can use to customize, assess, and deploy Windows operating systems to new computers.
- Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Server Beta Compatibility Cookbook
This document familiarizes developers with how to verify the compatibility of their programs with the new operating system and provides an overview of the few known compatibility issues in Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server 8 Beta Preview.
Video: Windows 8 Consumer Preview Demo
Windows 8 Consumer Preview hardware requirement includes:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device or higher
- To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch
- To access Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
- To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768
One new element to Windows 8 is the requirement that Metro style applications have a minimum of 1024x768 screen resolution, and 1366x768 for the snap feature.
Microsoft recommendation for the Consumer Preview is to run it natively on hardware if you intend to run Windows 8 on hardware when the product is final.
For those already running the Windows 8 Developer Preview, can install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview using the migrate option (just keep personal files), but not the upgrade option (keep personal files, apps, and settings). Or if you prefer, you can of course do a clean installation (keep nothing).
Note, the Consumer Preview release does permit upgrading from Windows 7, and will run the integrated upgrade advisor to check on any things you might need to look into. Please keep in mind that there is no rollback after an upgrade installation.
Also note that the final release of Windows 8 "will not support upgrading from any prior Windows 8 "Preview" release, though the migrate option will still be supported," stated Microsoft.
In any upgrade scenario, you can run the Disk Cleanup Wizard to remove the previous installation in order to free up disk space.
The download will also support boot from USB for a completely clean installation as well.
It is also worth noting a couple of other features that've specific hardware requirements. (Note: be careful whenever you adjust your BIOS settings.)
- Secured Boot requires a new UEFI BIOS, which is not available broadly on PCs yet, but is starting to be made available. If your machine does have UEFI, you can enable it via BIOS settings.
- BitLocker does not require but performs more seamlessly if your PC has a Trusted Platform Module(TPM). Machines that have this sometimes require it to be enabled via BIOS settings. BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive that meets performance criteria evaluated at installation time.
- Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and an additional 2 GB of RAM. You can also enable SLAT via a BIOS setting.
- Some games and other software require graphics capabilities compatible with DirectX 10 or higher (including some games available in the Consumer Preview and in the Windows Store. We will continue to improve the verification of your system prior to downloading or running software with these requirements). Some games and programs might require a graphics card for optimal performance.
- If you clean install instead of upgrade (see below), you should check your PC manufacturer's website to make sure you install any specific drivers that they provide there. Many laptops will get better battery life with a power-optimized driver that is specific for that PC (often known as ACPI, Power, or Chipset driver).
With IE10 in Windows 8, consumers can now enjoy more touch-friendly and beautiful, fast and fluid Web applications with the updated IE10 engine included in the Windows Consumer Preview.
This fifth Platform Preview of IE10 delivers improved performance and support for more HTML5.
This video shows some of the touch-friendly HTML5 technologies in the fifth IE10 Platform Preview, included with the Windows Consumer Preview:
Video: Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5 demo
You can find a full list of new functionality available to developers in the IE10 developer guide.