Microsoft has just released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to the masses.
This free download allows anyone with a compatible computer to test out Windows 8 before it is available in stores and on new computers. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a beta of Windows 8, so you shouldn’t install it on your main computer unless you are willing to live with bugs and other inconsistencies.
You can upgrade from previous versions of Windows including Windows 7, Vista and XP. All of these upgrades will allow you to keep your user accounts and files, but only Windows 7 will allow you to keep your programs.
Windows 8 brings a new look to Windows, including the Metro Interface that will be familiar to Windows Phone users. While Windows 8 brings many optimizations for touch, you don’t need a tablet or a touchscreen on your notebook or computer to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
The easiest way to get started with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on your computer is to download the setup utility which will make sure your computer is capable of running the Windows 8 beta software and includes tools to make a Windows 8 DVD or flash drive to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
If you prefer to download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO files directly, to burn to a DVD or to create your own Windows 8 USB installation drive, you can find Windows 8 in 32-bit and 64-bit on the Windows 8 ISO download page.
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO downloads are 2.5GB and 3.3GB, but downloads are moving pretty fast considering the recent announcement.
The Consumer Preview is available in English, Chinese, French, German and Japanese.
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is able to run on many computers, even those that aren’t brand new. Here are the system requirements for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
- 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
- To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch
- To access 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
Microsoft doesn’t say this, but you can install Windows 8 on a Mac with BootCamp. If you want to do this, make sure you download the Windows 8 ISO files and from what we’ve heard you’ll have better luck with a DVD, instead of making a bootable flash drive.
Are you planning to try the Windows 8 Consumer Preview? If you do, tell us what computer you plan to put it on.
I wish my HP tx2000 hadn’t fried its graphics card, as I really want to try the touch experience with Windows 8.