MS Windows 8 RTM Evals Downloadable Now
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has released Windows 8 RTM as a 90-day evaluation download with the intended targets IT professionals, developers and device makers, but anyone can take the final build of the impending operating system for a spin with a click or two at either its MSDN or TechNet web sites.
“This is intended for developers building Windows 8 apps and IT professionals interested in trying Windows 8 Enterprise on behalf of their organization,” Microsoft said.
Microsoft’s intentions notwithstanding, while Windows 8 officially won’t be available until Oct. 26, 2012, between now and then any and all interested users can test drive the software, either in 32-bit or 64-bit versions, and in a variety of languages.
Channel partners and businesses with volume licensing deals for the OS will gain access to the software over the next two weeks. Developers looking to make hay in the two months until release date can head to the Windows Dev Center downloads page for Visual Studio 2012, tools and SDK to build Windows 8 apps.
According to Microsoft, the Windows 8 RTM eval isn’t upgradeable to the full version of Windows 8 — the software must be uninstalled and a non-trial version re-installed — so the vendor is suggesting users run the test edition on a virtual machine or on a separate hard drive or partition. Online activation is required within 10 days after installation and is available until Aug. 15.
Windows 8 RTM recommended specifications map to the Consumer Preview as outlined in February, with the exception of 4GB more of hard disk space:
- Processor: 1 GHz or faster
- RAM: 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Hard disk space: 20 GB
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
According to reports, the Windows Aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, Open) interface and design guidelines are gone, replaced by a more minimalist user interface. Those who’ve examined the Windows 8 RTM build say Microsoft’s Bing search engine is baked in, coming up with auto-fill suggestions as the search bar is deployed. Other additions, such as the People app and Windows Store, are in keeping with the company’s nod to the user experience of tablets and other mobile devices.
Windows 8 also is said to sport improved battery life, I/O performance, and quicker downloads, installations and hibernation speeds, according to reports.