Windows 8 Release Preview Available Now
Microsoft has just announced that the Release Preview edition of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system (OS) is now available for download. This is generally considered the last build of the OS prior to its official launch, expected this fall.
But don't confuse this version of the new OS with the Consumer Preview, which Microsoft released back in February, 2012. The Release Preview is generally considered much closer to the final product that will actually hit store shelves.
Performance Improved, Apps Added
There have been a few additions and improvements to the new OS since the Consumer Preview was released.
First, Microsoft has hardened the OS' code, improving overall performance.
Second, the Redmond-based firm has added (and in other cases updated) a number of default applications, including Sports, News, and Travel.
A new Photo app in the OS not only displays locally-stored pictures, but integrates seamlessly with social networking sites like Facebook. This allows users to easily view images stored online, as well as on their own storage devices. (Source: pcworld.com)
Third, Microsoft has added new multi-monitor tools, which allow users to extend a single background image across several screens. In addition, the taskbar is now accessible through multiple desktops.
Also, the all-new Metro interface has been improved: users can now pin specific sections of an app to the OS' Start Screen.
For example, users can now:
- Pin a particular inbox from the Email app
- Pin a particular team or athlete in the Sports app
- Pin a favorite stock in the Finance app.
Some Features Saved for Official Launch
Although Microsoft is getting very close to having its final release of Windows 8, the company appears to be keeping secret a few last features until the official launch.
For example, this Release Preview doesn't include the redesigned Desktop interface promised by Microsoft, and is also missing its much-anticipated extended Help feature. (Source: pcmag.com)
The new Help system will be particularly important to users, given all the changes to the OS' interface in comparison to Windows 7.
Experts are surprised that Microsoft has failed to provide a firm release date for its new Windows 8 OS. However, the speculation continues to center on October, 2012, for the new OS' ship date.
To download the Windows 8 Release Preview, click here.
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