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Now anyone can try Windows 8 RTM for free

by Mark Tyson on 15 August 2012, 22:30

Tags: Windows 8

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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;

  1. The evaluation edition will expire and cannot be upgraded.
  2. 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).

HEXUS Forums :: 65 Comments

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Downloaded and interested to see what changes have been made.
I'll probably do the same, no harm firing up vmware.
Haven't got the time to test at the moment, would be keen to hear if they've made many changes.
So, if you have downloaded and had a testd rive, do share your experiences. Is the Metro UI still there?
Even with free MSDN access I can't say I'm in any rush to download it after trying the developer and consumer preview versions….