The Windows 8 Release Preview just made available for public download in 14 languages.
The final pre-release of Windows 8 includes: "Internet Explorer 10, new Windows 8 apps for connecting to Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger and many more, plus hundreds of new and updated apps in the Windows Store," Steven Sinofsky stated.
Other new apps in this release include a Bing Travel app, as well as Gaming and Music Xbox apps that integrate with Microsoft's Zune music service. Coming soon, we will see a new wave of PCs designed for Windows 8, along with new apps powered by the new Windows 8 platform.In addition, the Release Preview also features notable improvements to the Mail, Photos and People apps that initially debuted with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Since the first preview release in September 2011, "millions of people now use the pre-release product on a daily basis and millions more have been taking it through its paces, totaling hundreds of millions of hours of testing." Sinofsky says.
And, the Consumer Preview, since its release in Feb, has been downloaded more than 1 million times in the first 24 hours," making Windows 8 the most tested Microsoft operating system of all time," Microsoft stated.
He also revealed, Windows 7 has been used on over 550 million PCs around the world.
With this released, "Our focus from now until RTM is on continuing to maintain a quality level higher than Windows 7," he said.
"RTM itself is a product development phase, rather than a moment in time. We continue to roll out Windows 8 in over 100 different languages and we are preparing final products for different markets around the world[…]Once we have entered the RTM stage, our partners will begin making their final images and manufacturing PCs, and hardware and software vendors will ready their Windows 8 support and new products. We will also begin to manufacture retail boxes for shipment around the world. We will continue to work with our enterprise customers as well, as we ensure availability of the volume license tools and products," adds Sinofsky.
"Remember, if you buy a new PC running Windows 7 today, with the great support from our PC partners, you will be ready for Windows 8," Sinofsky concludes.
He also shared some statistics of Windows 8 blog past nine months, stating:
Just nine months ago, we kicked off this blog as a dialog about the design and development of Windows 8. We've talked in depth about building Windows 8, including the features, the designs, and the background behind these. We've done so in over 70 posts totaling over 500 pages if printed out and 34 videos totaling over 90 minutes, all coming directly from engineers of the product. We've had about 18,000 comments from approximately 7,000 people. Over 170 Windows engineers contributed to the dialog, including over 200 comments I posted (though I was out-commented by one other pretty active reader!). Of course, we've been carefully watching the telemetry of the millions of tech enthusiasts using the product at each milestone.
Here are few highlights of the final-release of Windows 8:
- Installation - We have significant telemetry in the setup process and also significant logging. Of course, if you can't set up Windows 8 at all, that is something we are interested in, and the same holds for upgrades from Windows 7. Please note the specifics regarding installation requirements and cautions found on the download page.
- Securityand privacy - Obviously, any vulnerability is a something we would want to address. We will use the same criteria to address these issues as we would for any in-market product.
- Reliability and responsiveness - We are monitoring the "crash" reports for issues that impact broad sets of people. These could be caused by Windows code, Microsoft or third-party drivers, or third-party apps. Information about crashes streams in "real time" to Microsoft, and we watch it very carefully. We also have a lot of new data coming on the hundreds of new apps in the Windows Store.
- Device installation and compatibility - When you download a driver from Windows Update or install a driver via a manufacturer's setup program, we collect data about that download via the Plug and Play (PnP) ID program. We've seen millions of unique PnP IDs through the Consumer Preview. We also receive the IDs for devices that failed to locate drivers. We are constantly updating the Plug and Play web service with pointers to information about each device (driver availability, instructions, etc.) We actively monitor the use of the compatibility modes required when the first installation of a Windows 7 based product does not succeed.
- Software compatibility - Similar to device compatibility, we are also monitoring the installation process for software, and noting programs that do not install successfully. Again, we have the mechanism to help move that forward, and/or introduce compatibility work in the RTM milestone. Here too, we actively monitor the use of compatibility modes required when the first installation of a Windows 7-based product does not succeed. We have tested thousands of complex commercial products from around the world in preparation for the Release Preview.
- Servicing - We will continue to test the servicing of Windows 8 so everyone should expect updates to be made available via Windows Update. This will include new drivers and updates to Windows 8, some arriving very soon as part of a planned rollout. Test updates will be labeled as such. We might also fix any significant issue with new code. All of this effort serves to validate the servicing pipeline, and to maintain the quality of the Release Preview.
- New hardware - Perhaps the most important category for potential fixes comes from making sure that we work with all the new hardware being made as we all use build 8400. Our PC manufacturing partners and hardware partners are engineering new PCs, and these include hardware combinations that are new to the market and new to the OS. We're working together to make sure Windows 8 has great support for these new PCs and hardware.
Microsoft also says that it has made refinements across the product, such as increased personalization options for the Start screen, improved multimonitor support, refinements to "the way people find and download apps through the Windows Store, and new Family Safety features."
And, the touch-friendly Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 now supports Adobe's Flash player and features a Do Not Track (DNT) feature that is "turned on by default." "The Web is as fast and fluid as any app, and with new capabilities in the Windows 8 Release Preview such as "flip ahead," it is just as intuitive. A touch-friendly and power-optimized Adobe Flash Player is now integrated into Internet Explorer 10, and it is also the first browser to feature Do Not Track "on" by default, giving customers more choice and control over their privacy," Microsoft stated.
Windows 8 Release Preview on Technet is available here.
64-bit (x64) - 3.3 GB
Sha 1 hash -- 0xD76AD96773615E8C504F63564AF749469CFCCD57
32-bit (x86) - 2.5 GB
Sha 1 hash -- 0x8BED436F0959E7120A44BF7C29FF0AA962BDEFC9
Product Key: TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF
How to install Windows 8 Release Preview from an ISO image?
The easiest way to convert an ISO file to a DVD in Windows 7 is to use Windows Disc Image Burner. On a PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista, a third-party program is required to convert an ISO file into installable media--and DVD burning software often includes this capability. One option is the USB/DVD download tool provided by the Microsoft Store. You can also download Windows 8 Release Preview Setup, which includes tools that allow you to create a DVD or USB flash drive from an ISO file (Windows Vista or Windows 7 required).
Important: If you decide to go back to your previous operating system, you'll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC, which is typically DVD media. If you don't have recovery media, you might be able to create it from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer's website for more information. After you install Windows 8, you won't be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.
Here is the video walkthrough of the Windows 8 Release Preview:
Microsoft notes, that beginning June 2, 2012, they'll roll out the Windows Upgrade Offer in 131 markets, including the U.S. and Canada. "Consumers who buy eligible Windows 7-based PCs through Jan. 31, 2013, can purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of $14.99 (U.S.) during the time of the promotion," Microsoft said.In addition, Microsoft will also announce other offers in the coming months that will help consumers with existing Windows 7-based PCs upgrade to Windows 8 when it is generally available.
Microsoft also promised to share further detail about the Windows 8 businesses features at TechEd North America.