Windows 8 Consumer Preview Now Available to Public

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has finally unveiled the first publicly available edition of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system (OS). While this version of the new OS is far from complete, it does give users a solid idea of what Microsoft has done to update its flagship product for use with mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones.

"It's an even better Windows than Windows 7," Microsoft Windows director Steven Sinofsky said at a recent demonstration of the new OS, which took place at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

"It's incredibly fast and fluid to just navigate this UI (user interface)." (Source:

Microsoft Targeting Lucrative Mobile Market

So, what makes Sinofsky so confident in his assertion?

Undoubtedly, it has a lot to do with the way Windows 8 is configured to work on limited-processing-power systems like tablets, smartphones and (to a lesser extent) netbook computers.

By implementing the new "Metro" interface -- which has been designed and built from the ground-up with touchscreen devices in mind -- the Redmond-based software giant is clearly hoping this new operating system will penetrate the lucrative mobile market deeper than previous versions of the Windows OS.

Windows 8 and Windows Store

Windows 8 also includes integration with Microsoft's new download service: Windows Store. This is where visitors can find and download a variety of applications, access cloud-based data storage, and even test drive the company's upcoming web browser: Internet Explorer 10. (Source:

It's all part of an effort by Microsoft to make its new OS, and the devices running it, preferable to competitive products from industry rival Apple.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available Now

As for the consumer preview of Windows 8, Microsoft says anyone can download it right now.

Be advised, however, at the present time the new operating system will work only with hardware systems based on Intel's popular x86 line of processors.

With that, there will likely be software incompatibilities (which means some programs you have installed now may not run on Windows 8), and, most likely, there are bugs in the software.

Users that choose to install the consumer preview will have until January 15, 2013, after which they will have to upgrade to the full release or uninstall it. (Source:

Thus, we recommend you wait until the full version is released and you're ready to migrate permanently.

Windows 8 Not Yet Available for Mobile

Folks with tablets and smartphones, which use a different processing chip, will have to wait a little while longer before they can take the new Windows 8 OS for a spin as the consumer preview is not available for these devices.

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