Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available as a Free Download
Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview today, a pre-release version of their next generation operating system. Windows 8 incorporates the touch-centric Metro interface while still maintaining access to the standard Windows file system and desktop, effectively merging their tablet UI and desktop UI into a single operating system. This is obviously a different approach than Apple took while keeping separate iOS and OS X, but nonetheless Microsoft is bent on this strategy to compete with Apple’s offerings and the wildly successful iPad.
To be fair, Windows 8 is actually a pretty decent OS with some innovative ideas, and with the freely available Consumer Preview anyone can download an ISO and install it themselves to give it a whirl. If you’re curious what’s been cooking in Redmond Washington, running Windows 8 yourself is the best way to find out. Dust off that PC and run it natively, or you can try installing it on a Mac with Boot Camp or run it within VirtualBox or VMWare. Here are the general system requirements before getting started:
Windows 8 System Requirements
- 1 GHz CPU or faster
- 1GB of RAM or higher
- 16GB hard disk space
- DirectX 9 GPU or better
- Internet access
- Touch-screen to support multitouch features
If you have hardware that meets the requirements (you probably do), download an ISO and start installing, the links below point directly to Microsoft servers.
Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO
The product key for both versions is: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J
Don’t want to bother with downloading and installing a beta OS that you may not spend much time on? Check out the two videos below to see Windows 8 in action instead.