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Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview now available

by Alistair Lowe on 1 June 2012, 10:14

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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In a move that has come earlier than expected and no doubt aimed at generating talk over at Computex, Microsoft has released for download, its Windows 8 Release Preview, it's final pre-release before the real deal expected towards the end of this year.

The firm states that it will still be making changes right up to RTM and that it will be taking serious note of user feedback both implicitly, through usage stats and error reports and, explicitly, through blog post responses, as always.

The latest iteration of Windows 8 brings with it a few new features, some of which we've already detailed in previous posts, such as improved multi-monitor support, but also some left unmentioned, such as initial support for three multi-touch gestures on touchpads, pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scroll and edge swiping, a quick way to reach Windows 8 edge charms. There are also subtle improvements to app APIs that make these gestures more useful.

Microsoft has also begun to bundle more default apps with the Windows 8; Bing Travel can be used to make flight / hotel bookings and to pin snapshots of dream destinations onto the start menu, with a drill down to various details such as maps, weathers, fares and so on. Bing Sports can be used to follow a favourite team, their latest news and fixtures or, simply to view top stories. Bing News speaks for itself, offering top-stories with drill-downs into various news categories, with sources from all around.

Generally, Internet Explorer 10 has been refined and stabilised, however, after a fair number of user complaints, Adobe Flash will now be bundled with the Metro variation of the browser, allowing users to enjoy 'legacy' Flash content.

Video and Music apps can now be controlled from the lock screen, with volume controls triggering a small control box. Likewise, the Music app has now gained support for DLNA streaming.

Microsoft's Mail app has seen improvements to multi-account functionality, along with the ability to pin access points to specific accounts to the start screen; it has been suggested that with usability being as good as it is for the mail and calendar apps, Microsoft may look to drop Outlook after the next release of Office, though this is a matter that'll likely not resolve itself until long after the final release of Windows 8.

Initial feedback suggests that the new OS is a little quicker to navigate than its Consumer Preview predecessor and that the time from sleep to wake-up has just about halved. What hasn't happened yet, however, is the loss of Aero, which Microsoft is saving for the final release.

Interested? Come and download your copy here.

For those interested in the release candidate of Windows Server 2012, which has now also been released, head on over to here.

HEXUS Forums :: 29 Comments

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Have they fixed shutting down with a mouse yet? Finding the magical spot that bought down the top menu was so frustrating I gave up on the dev preview and haven't been back since!
I tried the previous preview version just a couple of days ago… for five minutes… then quit.

But I spend 99% of my time in Linux, only firing up a Win 7 VM if I really need to run PowerPoint.

If you thought Ubuntu's Unity interface was annoying (I've kind of got used to it), then wait until you've tried Win 8 without a touchscreen.
If you thought Ubuntu's Unity interface was annoying (I've kind of got used to it), then wait until you've tried Win 8 without a touchscreen.
Unity is a dream to use in comparison with Windows 8. Even a touch screen for massive desktop displays won't make the interface any better to use, it still utilises way too much desktop space unnecessarily. Putting designs meant for small 5' displays onto big 24' displays makes me think they are crazy.
I can't say I'm impressed with Win8. Hate the Metro look and feel. Totally pointless on a Desktop PC as touch is merely a gimmick on most people's PCs. Also both Metro and the new Desktop theme looks flat and dull.

I've never been a fan of the ribbon toolbars and find them more trouble than their worth.

My wife uses PCs at work and ours at home, but is not a Techie by any stretch of the imagination and she says she hates the new look and feel too!

All MS, etc. keep showing off are the Tablet/phone style ‘Apps’, but what about the ‘Serious’ users?

What are the advantages for those of use who actually ‘work’ on PCs? Those of us who use Programs like Photoshop, 3D Studio Max, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Sony Soundforge, Autodesk AutoCAD, Bespoke software managing huge (1 Million+) databases of customer details, etc., etc.?

To me Win8 seems like MS trying to get into the gimmick sector of Tablets and Smart Phones. The province of Twitter, and Facebook, of amateur photography and listening to music. But they seem to have neglet the majority of users who actually use very heavy duty software to actually work… Remember work MS? It's the thing you do between Tweeting your mates, and taking stupid pictures!

My wife works for the council and they don't allow access to Twitter, Facebook or online shopping sites from ANY of their PCs. They use several different bespoke programs that all have to be running at once and she has to switch between them all the time. Their email accounts block ALL pictures and emails that contain ‘dodgy’ words or links. Also they (the Council) don't allow the staff to do anything other than use the set software (the terminals have no disc drives or accessable USB ports, etc). Several other people we know have all said their companies are the same and getting more and more restrictive to both reduce downtime, maintance requests and non-work related use! They wouyld never allow them to use Windows 8 in a million years!

Oh and none of them have ever used a touchscreen in work, and hate the ones used in shops, etc.
Been running it since consumer preview, no different to windows 7 really if you install vistart. Few nice multi monitor additions.