Microsoft Unveils Windows 8 Release Preview
Anxious to get your hands on a nearly complete version of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system? Then head on over to http://preview.windows.com/ to download the new Windows 8 Release Preview.
But first, read about some of the Release Preview’s new features here.
It’s expected that this will be the last pre-release version of Windows 8 until the operating system’s ultimate launch this fall. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a chance to get our hands on Windows 8: back in late February Microsoft released a Windows 8 Consumer Preview that was, for all intents and purposes, designed to give us a basic feel for the many changes introduced since Windows 7.
The Release Preview improves upon the Consumer Preview in a number of ways. For one, Microsoft has enhanced the operating system’s code, meaning it runs a little faster.
In addition, Microsoft has also added support for multiple monitors, meaning users can extend desktop images across more than a single screen. The taskbar is now available on multiple desktops, and each monitor can be configured to display unique screen resolutions, themes, etc.
Microsoft has also enhanced a number of the new applications packaged with Windows 8, including the Sports, News, and Travel apps. Each of these apps integrate seamlessly with the very new Metro interface; combined, this means that a user can customize their apps by pinning certain features to the desktop (for example, users can pin a particular team to the desktop via the Sports app).
There’s still some work to be done, however, meaning the Release Preview shouldn’t be considered the final version of Windows 8. Microsoft still needs to include the re-worked desktop interface, which has received an overhaul since the introduction of Metro. In addition, an all-new and expanded Help function has yet to be added (it’s expected a lot of users will need that help given the many interface changes introduced with Windows 8).
We still don’t know when the final version of Windows 8 will actually arrive at retail locations, though most experts believe it will be sometime between August and November 2012.