The long anticipated Consumer Preview (beta) build of Windows 8 has finally been released by Microsoft. During the Mobile World Congress in Spain, Microsoft announced the Consumer Preview and mentioned several facts regarding the progress of the operating system.
During the event in Spain, Microsoft stated that Windows 8 was designed to be beautiful, modern, fast, and fluid. Since the Developer Preview build of Windows 8, released back in September of 2011, Microsoft has made over 100,000 changes to Windows 8. “We think of it as complete all the way through,” Microsoft stated during the event.
Microsoft has made available the download for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. “Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup will check to see if your PC can run Windows 8 Consumer Preview and select the right download. Setup also features a compatibility report and upgrade assistance. Built-in tools for creating an ISO or bootable flash drive are available for some previous versions of Windows (excluding Windows XP and earlier),” Microsoft adds.
The Start orb/button is no longer present in the Consumer Preview, confirming recent reports that it was removed.
During the Consumer Preview, all apps in the Windows Store will be free to download. More apps will be added to the Store as the Consumer Preview progresses.
According to Microsoft, the next milestone will be the Release Candidate and after that will be the Release to Manufacturing (RTM), and general availability soon after.
You can download the Consumer Preview websetup here or download the ISO here. You can use this product key when asked during installation: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7JFurther reading: Microsoft, MWC2012, Windows 8