Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available for download

Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available for download

Sure iPhones and iPads are made by Apple, but many if not most iOS users are also Windows users, and just today Microsoft has made their next-generation operating system available for test driving via the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

It's Windows reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability. It's an all-new touch interface. It's a new Windows for new devices. And it's your chance to be one of the first to try it out.

That all-new touch interface is Metro, brought over from Windows Phone 7 and designed to make everything from ultralight slates to full on desktops are easy and fun to use as Microsoft's mobile offerings have become.

It's a a similar end-goal if decidedly different approach than Apple is taking with iOS and the upcoming OS X Mountain Lion -- making computing more consistent and accessible to mainstream users.

Microsoft has a lot of good information -- and tons of videos -- up on their Windows 8 Consumer Preview website, including how to get started, rundowns of all the key features including apps, web, and the cloud, as well as an FAQ to help you out.

Windows 8 will also work on tablets, and on the same ARM-based chipsets that other mobile devices do, meaning it finally lets Microsoft field a true competitor to the iPad. Given Windows' massive install base, especially in enterprise, that could prove interesting. More interesting, however, is the clearly consumer-centric -- it's right there in the name -- focus of this preview. Microsoft is bringing the fight for mainstream computing right to Apple. And they're doing it with style.

How well do Metro and multitouch translate to the PC? Can mobile and desktop, finger and mouse pointer, really live together with no compromises at all? If you've got a spare box or room for another virtual machine, get the Consumer Preview, give it a spin, and let us know.

(Also let us know how iTunes works, or doesn't work, and how happy you are iOS has gone PC free!)

Download: Windows 8 Consumer Preview

[Direct link to video]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available for download


I'm considering it.. But right now I'm quite happy with windows 7.
Also I'm investing in a Mac soon so there's no point.

Investing in a mac now is a total waste. This is hands down better than anything from Apple. Come on Apple get of your fat duff and produce a competitive OS!

Why call him a troll !?
Have you tried W8 ?!
Didn't think so. He's not a troll. But you're the fanboy with apple kool aid running down your chin.

Less than an hour to go, I've been using the Developer Preview on my laptop as the only Os and it's worked great Can't wait to see what the Consumer preview is like.

iOS is not really PC free - there is not built-in way to organise photos, add new music and videos (from anything other than iTunes), etc. Unless you jailbreak your device of course.

I don't get that part either. Keep saying it's not dependent on a PC doesn't make it so. Not when all my iOS backups, itunes, and massive itunes library live on the PC. That's sort of central (and essential) to the iOS ecosystem for me. Even icloud is integrated (somewhat) via the icloud control panel.

They mean PC free as in you don't NEED a PC to use an iOS device anymore. It can be purchased, setup, and used without tethering to a Mac or PC to initialize and connect via iTunes. All apps and music can be purchased on device. Photos and videos can be taken, "managed", shared on device. All backups can be done to iCloud. Is a PC easier to use to manage photos, videos, podcasts, backups? Maybe for a lot of users, but it's no longer required - and therefore "PC free".
I am looking forward to trying Win8, I've never owned a Mac, always Windows PC's. Since my addition to my iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV I've said my next laptop/desktop would be an Apple product, but this might make me pause to think about it longer.....looks promising.

So I have an iMac (2008), Macbook (2007), Windows 7 PC (3 year old hardware) right now. I am getting the next iPad for portable/couch computing.
Our next PC will be a new iMac probably in another year. I'll consider adding a Windows tablet into the mix once I see a need it fills. If it has good system admin tools is what I'm watching for.

Am I missing something or shouldn't they be launching some brandnew slick hardware with this... It just seems to me that Windows8 on any tablet is just a tablet OS.
If Windows8 is to lure people aware from iOS like Lion or the forthcoming Mtn Lion, then users will need serious processing power and a device on which to use it, where the primary interaction is touch. Tablets aren't enough.
I'd like to download, I'm curious about it, but I can't tell whether the Win8 experience on my Win7 machine will be the one they want me to have.

Why do you feel Win8 is a way to lure people away from iOS? Last time I checked, the amount of hardware with iOS was a tiny % of the hardware with Windows.
Are you saying that Microsoft is releasing Win8 to lure people using iOS devices to go to a Win8 device (mobile)? If it was the case, they would've stayed with Windows 7 which was not for desktop applications.
The reason why they released Windows 8 is to unify all hardware using Windows, mobile or desktop. This is a HUGE leap forward. Apple STARTED doing the same since the Mac Apple Store but it's no where near what Win8 is.
Download the CP and test it. SPECIALLY if you have a Live account, an Xbox account, if you use MSN messenger or Skydrive. EVERYTHING is linked together and it's truly magical.
Browsing my Xbox360 Netflix or my Xbox360 Games all from my PC is absolutely great. Of course the usage is minimal today but one day, mark my words, you will be able to do EVERYTHING from your laptop.
Want to launch a game on your Xbox360? Do it from your laptop. Want to run a movie on your Xbox360? Do it from your laptop. Want to pull a Word document on your 50 inch TV? Do it from your laptop. And with Windows Kinect, holy cow. The future looks friendly.

Endgadget has posted a video of Windows 8 running on a 82 inch touchscreen and it is STUNNING, very responsive, and it uses the available area very well. Not for home use obviously, but nice anyway.
It's interesting that until a few years ago the world seemed to be moving moving towards free and open source software, and now Microsoft and Apple are leading us to the exact opposite direction, closed OSs and walled gardens for apps, and no one talks about free or open source any more.

no one talks about free or open source anymore
In part because OSS plays a large (dominant?) and even growing role in the background, but is less apparent (and waning) on the front end. To take a recent example, Apple is touting their versioning of files as a hot new feature of OSX. In all the coverage, nobody talks about (or cares) that it relies on OSS proejcts (e.g. SQLlite) to get the job done. That is not to minimize the effort Apple has put on top of it, just to point out that people talk about Apple's work, not realizing that the free/open source software at the core is what makes it possible.
None of Apple's or Microsoft's products (or heck, the Internet itself) could exist with their current feature set without OSS. WebKit is of course Apple's poster child for OSS, and even casual Apple fans know about it because of Apple's strong role in maintaining that project, but Apple makes use of OSS components heavily throughout OSX and iOS. (on iOS, the licenses are reproduced under Settings->General->Legal, in OSX you can see a partial list at )

So OSS is now the domain of large corporations, which use free software to develop and sell proprietary software in their walled gardens. Just great.
I know this it is within the specs of OSS, but it is a far cry from the dreams and promises of OSS.

Depends on whose dreams. There are licenses for just about every range of options and restrictions. If an OSS project wants to prohibit its software's use in "walled gardens" without said gardeners paying or contributing back, all they have to do is choose an appropriate license.
Samba -- the defacto way for non-Windows systems to access Windows resources -- did that a few years ago, moving to the GPLv3 license, which has very strict clauses about redistribution and source code. As a result, Apple, which had been using Samba since OSX 10.2, did not use newer versions of Samba. (I'm not sure if Apple forked an old version or is redoing this from scratch.)

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

I was impressed with the Metro interface when it was released with Windows Phone 7. I don't test drive beta software but will await the official release. When I upgrade to it on my Desktop PC depends on when Pro Tools and other software that I run, supports it. As for if I'd buy a tablet with it, that is the form factor on which I'd be interested in running it, but that decision would be weighed against apps I could run on the iPad 2 or iPad 3. It will also depend on the price of a Windows 8 Tablet. I'm not going to pay as much or more for any non-iPad device, particularly if it doesn't support apps that I need. I can run pedal board, recording, and productivity apps on an iPad 2 right now but am waiting to see what Windows 8 brings to the table before making a tablet purchase. Between my Macbook Pro and iPhone 4S, I'm fine, right now.

It's awesome. I will be buying a Windows 8 tablets as it's amazing the crossover between my windows phone and the os. My photos taken on my phone are all on my desktop along with everything else.
It's a new beginning in synergy computing.

Wow...just installed it in my work's I5 Samsung Slate and it looks AWESOME on the tablet...granted, this is full blown tablet....but I cant wait to see it in a ARM tablet...
I love the multitasking a long time Mac/Apple user, I'm actually impressed. I might actually get one of these tablets if I they are cheaper than $500...

I don't know if I'd go for the paid Hulu, but I just cancelled my cable last week. Roku with Netflix and Slingbox FTW. Netflix minimum for streaming is only $10/mo and Roku and Slingbox are one-time costs.

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