Since I wrote about the upcoming Windows’s 8 Features back in March, Microsoft has released the most complete preview version yet, that they say is the most tested operating system ever.
Tens of thousands of changes have been made to Windows 8 since the first developer preview was released last year. Microsoft is calling it the most important redesign since Windows 95.
Windows 8 Design & Download
The new OS that is designed to bring Windows into the touchscreen era, is expected to be released in Q4 of 2012. The updated preview is available for download on Microsoft’s web site, for free.
One of the biggest changes we’ll see is the Metro interface Microsoft uses in their mobile operating system. However, lot of desktop users have expressed a disliking to Metro. We can expect Microsoft to retain their implementation of the Windows 7 GUI, giving users the ability to switch to something they’re more familiar with.
The basic look and feel of Windows 8 hasn’t changed much since the first consumer preview, Aero is still present, although it’s expected to be removed before RTM.
Windows 8 Performance And Features
Although there weren’t any major issues in first consumer preview, there’s definitely an improvement in performance, things seem to run a little smoother, especially changing between applications.
We’ve also seen an improvement in multiple monitor support. Switching between screens or tablet displays works flawlessly and automatically. Hot corners are extended to all screens, and apps can be controlled by any monitor.
One of the most significant additions to the Release Preview is Flash. Adobe and Microsoft worked together to build a light weight version of Flash for Internet Explorer, which adds a couple of features like video playback while removing pieces of code pieces that normally cause battery life performance issues. A full version of flash can still be installed from Adobe’s website, which will be required if you prefer to use Firefox or Google Chrome.
In an attempt to improve browser privacy, Microsoft’s CPO Brendon Lynch has announced Internet Explorer 10 to be the first browser to have the “do not track” option turned on by default, meaning users can easily decide not to accept cookies. However, this may become an inconvenience.
The Release Preview definitely feels a lot closeer to a finished product, but Microsoft say that there is more to come in the the final RTM version.