A reimagined Windows
With Windows 8, the whole experience of Windows has been reimagined. It’s designed to work on a wide range of devices, from touch-enabled tablets, to laptops, to desktops and all-in-ones.
Some things you should know before installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview
First, this is a prerelease operating system
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is just that: a preview of what’s to come. It represents a work in progress, and some things will change before the final release. This means you’ll almost certainly encounter some errors and bugs.
Second, you should be pretty comfortable with new technology
If you’re used to running prerelease (beta) software, you’re OK with a little troubleshooting, and you don’t mind doing a few technical tasks here and there, then you’ll probably be OK giving the Windows 8 Consumer Preview a spin. If you’re not sure what you’d do if something unexpected happened, this might not be the time to dive in.
You’ll need the right hardware
Windows 8 Consumer Preview should run on the same hardware that powers Windows 7. You can expect Windows 8 Consumer Preview to 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
For some more information on hardware requirements, check out this post on the Building Windows 8 blog.
Here are the download links to get your hands on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview
This is the web-based installer. It will check to see if your PC can run Windows 8 Consumer Preview and select the right download. This installer utilizes a specially created compression scheme that is tailored to the unique format of the WIM (Windows Imagining) file that makes up the bulk of the Windows 8 download, so this is actually the fastest way to install the bits. You can, however, use this method to trigger a download as well, so that you can copy the build to a USB memory stick or DVD and install it manually that way.
From this site, you can download ISO images that you can use to install Windows 8 to a virtual machine or burn the image to disc or copy to USB memory stick and install that way. There are 32-bit (2.5 GB) and 64-bit (3.3 GB) versions of the Consumer Preview available.
If you have issues using the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft wants to know about them. As with pre-release software in general, there won’t be official support for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. You can post a detailed explanation of any issues you run into at the Windows 8 Consumer Preview forum. In addition, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview FAQ on the Windows website has information that could help you out and make the Windows 8 experience more productive and enjoyable.