You may have tried the Consumer Preview and also the Release Preview, but now you can try the Windows 8 final RTM version free for 90 days. The Windows 8 Enterprise edition evaluation for developers is open for all to download and test for 90 days. This gives developers and “and IT professionals interested in trying Windows 8 Enterprise” a good amount of time to poke around the final release version of Windows 8 in its entirety. Windows 8 Enterprise includes all Windows 8 Pro features and a few more business orientated ones including Windows To Go and DirectAccess VPN-like technology. You can check out a Windows 8 edition comparison table on Wikipedia.
As had been promised Microsoft today released Windows 8 RTM to Technet and MSDN subscribers. These users were able to download the final shipping version of Windows 8 from about 1pm US Eastern Time. However we got an extra bonus because Microsoft decided to let anyone download a 90 day evaluation copy of Windows 8 Enterprise. Perhaps they should have waited a day or two as many users were reporting treacle covered download speeds today as the download servers were put under heavy strain.
This free evaluation version can’t be upgraded; a complete re-install will be required.
So there you have it, a free fully featured final release version of Windows 8 to test out for 3 months. You have a good choice of install languages including “Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, English (UK), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish”. Also you can choose between 32-bit and 64-bit edition ISO images. There are some important caveats which may or may not bother you though, most importantly;
- The evaluation edition will expire and cannot be upgraded.
- To upgrade, the evaluation must be uninstalled and a non-evaluation version of Windows must be re-installed from your original installation media.
Other stipulations are that you have to register and activate online, which requires very minor time/effort. The 90 days trial starts from the day you activate the evaluation which can be any time from now until precisely a year away – 15 August 2013. If you install and activate today, the free trial will last you until a couple of weeks after Windows 8 has been officially launched (26th October).