Microsoft has made the Windows 8 Consumer Preview available for download at this location. They have both a web installer and an iso installer.
Microsoft outlined the system requirements in the Building Windows Blog post. Anyone who is already running Windows 7 can run Windows 8 just fine, and basically anyone with a decently modern machine should be good to go as well, at least for the Consumer Preview.
-1 GHz or faster cpu
-1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
-16 GB hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
-DirectX 9 Graphics card with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
They go on to list some other recommendations as well.
Minimum 1024x768 resolution and 1366x768 for snap. If you launch a Metro app with less than this you will get an error.
Although there are a number of existing Windows 7 touch devices and many are fully supported, we do recognize the touch experience of Windows 8 places a greater demand on a high quality experience than could have been foreseen when manufacturers were developing hardware for Windows 7. Our data is showing that a vast majority of Windows 7 touchscreens will perform well for Windows 8. This means that touch drivers continue to load, and you’ll be able to perform basic touch interactions with a reasonable degree of success. The following systems are a few that we have been using widely in our internal testing and self-hosting, although of course, this is not a specific endorsement of these PCs:
- HP Elitebook 2760p convertible (Note: This PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
- ASUS EP121 tablet (Note: his PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
- Dell Inspiron Duo convertible
- Lenovo x220t convertible
- 3M M2256PW 22” display (Note: The raised bezel can make it harder to swipe along the edges)
- Samsung Series 7 slate (Note: This PC has two models, one was provided to attendees at //build/ and the other is a commercial release; the latter has slightly different peripherals and firmware.)
Other hardware requirements
- Secured Boot requires a new UEFI BIOS, which is not available broadly on PCs yet, but is starting to be made available. If your machine does have UEFI, you can enable it via BIOS settings.
- BitLocker does not require but performs more seamlessly if your PC has a Trusted Platform Module(TPM). Machines that have this sometimes require it to be enabled via BIOS settings. BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive that meets performance criteria evaluated at installation time.
- Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and an additional 2 GB of RAM. You can also enable SLAT via a BIOS setting.
- Some games and other software require graphics capabilities compatible with DirectX 10 or higher (including some games available in the Consumer Preview and in the Windows Store. We will continue to improve the verification of your system prior to downloading or running software with these requirements). Some games and programs might require a graphics card for optimal performance.
- If you clean install instead of upgrade (see below), you should check your PC manufacturer's website to make sure you install any specific drivers that they provide there. Many laptops will get better battery life with a power-optimized driver that is specific for that PC (often known as ACPI, Power, or Chipset driver).
For those of you who have already been running the Windows 8 Developer Preview, you can install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview using the migrate option (just keep personal files), but not the upgrade option (keep personal files, apps, and settings). Or if you prefer, you can of course do a clean installation (keep nothing). The Consumer Preview release does permit upgrading from Windows 7, and will run the integrated upgrade advisor to check on any things you might need to look into. Please keep in mind that there is no rollback after an upgrade installation. We also strongly recommend that you perform a system backup prior to an upgrade, migrate, or clean install of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Also note that the final release of Windows 8 will not support upgrading from any prior Windows 8 "Preview" release, though the migrate option will still be supported. In any upgrade scenario, you can run the Disk Cleanup Wizard to remove the previous installation in order to free up disk space. The download will also support boot from USB for a completely clean installation as well.
Look for an article with more detailed Windows 8 Consumer Preview information, such as features and screenshots in the near future.
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