Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Windows 8 Public BetaWindows 8 Consumer Preview

Following the Developer Preview, which expires on March 12 2012, we have the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was released on February 29th 2012.

Changes from the Developer to Consumer Preview Version

The Start screen that you see once Windows 8 boots has had a make-over, with new App Bar options, and a more appealing color scheme.  As suspected Microsoft has removed the Start Orb from Windows 8.  However, if mouse-over the bottom-left you get a Start screen instead.  The Charms pop-up is also evolving, it may end up being translucent.

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview edition introduces more Metro-style icons, furthermore we are now seeing them in the desktop view and in the Apps list. Talking of the Apps list, Microsoft are introducing categories as the pure alphabetic list is getting unwieldy.

Windows 8 So Far

I have been amazed by how stable the Windows 8 developer preview runs, no wonder Microsoft no longer call these pre-release versions ‘Betas’.  Perhaps I should not be surprised at how well it runs because Vista reports to be version =6, Windows 7 = 6.1 and Windows 8 is only an increment 6.2.

What seems to happen is that on the surface these preview additions don’t have all slick flashy features, it’s as though Microsoft are saving the most eye-catching graphics until the final release.  It reminds of those new car models where they tested the mechanics on old-fashioned body work.

The Windows 8 Apps Store

In the consumer preview version, the Windows 8 Apps store will be open and everything will be free.  Paid for Apps costing a minimum of $1.49 will come later with the RTM version.

One App that I am looking forward to is Skydrive; other apps that I will be checking out include Camera and Calendar.  Windows 8 will also have a Messaging app that supports SMS.  For those who like games there will be Angry Birds, Hydro Thunder, Reckless Racing, Rocket Riot and Toy Soldiers.

Windows 8 Build Numbers

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview – Changes

The start orb has gone!  The way to return to the Metro UI is to press the WinKey (between Ctrl and Alt).  Talking of start menu, the Charms are still available, but they are now positioned on the right of the desktop.  In the developer preview you could boot into the desktop view by changing registry key called RPEnabled, but this hack no longer has any effect.

Two changes with the install, firstly, unlike the developer version you need a product for the consumer preview. Secondly, the install hangs for about 3 minutes, you see a fish, but it does not move!  See more about Windows 8 install »

Here are the Different Version of Windows 8 Consumer Preview

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview with Apps 32/64-bit (Default, Simplest)
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview Debug/Checked Build 32/64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview SDK 32/64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview Symbols 32/64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview WDF Co-installer 32/64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview WDK 32/64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Hardware Certification Kit Consumer Preview 32/64-bit

Why Consumer Preview?

According to Peter Klein, a Microsoft spokesman, the new terminology is designed to grab the public’s imagination.  The use of the word ‘consumer’ distinguishes this beta version from the developer version released in September 2011 and the enterprise version which will be released in mid-2012. 

While Windows Server 8 shares the same core code as it’s client version, its release is likely to be later than, those server developers really like their product to be rock solid before they release it.

The consumer expires in January 2013, at that point you will either have to suffer a reboot every hour, or else reformat and install an RTM version.  You cannot revert to your previous operating system, but there again, would you want to?

See more about Windows 8 new features »

Summary Windows 8 Consumer Preview

This version follows on from the developer preview, and is the final Windows 8 ‘Beta’, the next version will be the release candidate, or the Enterprise Preview.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Milestone Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Windows 8 Milestones  • Windows 8 Requirements  • Windows App Monitor

When Does Windows 8 Expire?  • How to Install Windows 8  • Windows 8 Microsoft Account

Windows 8 Versions  • Windows 10  • Windows 8 Image  • Windows 8.1 Blue