Moments ago in Barcelona, Microsoft announced the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, available to download now for anyone interested in trying it out.
With Windows 8, the whole experience of Windows has been re-imagined. It’s designed to work on a wide range of devices, from touch-enabled tablets, to laptops, to desktops and all-in-ones. We’ve designed Windows 8 to give you instant access to your apps, your files, and the information you care about most so you can spend less time navigating and more time doing what you actually want to do. You can move between Windows 8 PCs easily and access your files and settings from virtually anywhere. We’ve made touch a first-class experience and navigating with a mouse and keyboard fast and fluid. And just like Windows 7, reliability and security features are built in. It’s the best of Windows 7, made even better.
Before you start the download, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, this is a prerelease operating system.
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is just that: a preview of what’s to come. It represents a work in progress, and some things will change before the final release. This means you’ll encounter some hiccups and bugs. One of the great things about widely releasing a preview like this is that it gives us a chance to get a lot of feedback through telemetry, forums, and blog posts on where we can smooth out some of the rough edges.
Second, you should be pretty comfortable with new technology.
If you’re used to running prerelease (beta) software, you’re OK with a little troubleshooting, and you don’t mind doing a few technical tasks here and there, then you’ll probably be OK giving the Windows 8 Consumer Preview a spin. If a list of hardware specs is a little overwhelming for you, or you’re not sure what you’d do if something unexpected happened, this might not be the time to dive in.
Finally, you’ll need the right hardware.
Windows 8 Consumer Preview should run on the same hardware that powers Windows 7 today. In general, you can expect Windows 8 Consumer Preview to run on a PC with the following:
- 1 GHz or faster processor
- 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
- 1024 x 768 minimum screen resolution
However, there are some additional requirements to take into consideration in order to use certain features in Windows 8. In order to use the Snap feature, you will need a PC with a 1366×768 resolution or higher. If you want to use touch, you’ll need a multitouch-capable laptop, tablet, or display. Windows 8 supports up to five simultaneous touch points, so if your hardware doesn’t, you may find typing on the onscreen keyboard and using certain controls more of a challenge. You’ll also need an Internet connection to try out the Windows Store, to download and install apps, and to take your settings and files with you from one Windows 8 PC to another.
If you’ve read all of that, and you’re ready to give it a try, then let’s go!