Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. This early release of Windows 8 comes several months ahead of the final release of Windows 8 expected in September.
Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and you can download it now. Microsoft is not calling this early Windows 8 release beta suggesting that this release is reasonable stable.
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The Windows 8 Consumer Preview download is available now on Microsoft.com.
Microsoft is also offering ISO images of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview that can be downloaded here.
Microsoft's Disclaimer for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Release:
Windows 8 Consumer Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. 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.
Windows 8 works on the same minimum hardware requirements of Windows 7:
- 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
Additional requirements to use certain features:
- To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch.
- To access the 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.
Windows 8 is bringing Microsoft back into the game to compete with Apple on desktop, laptops and tablets head to head. As always Microsoft is late, but it comes in like a steam roller defending its dominant market share. If Windows 8 is really going to put Microsoft head to head with Apple in the tablet segment remains to be seen, but I definitely see a big chance that this will happen in the 2012 Holiday Shopping season.
More about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.