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Here's the Win 8 Customer Preview!

The word is out and so is the download

The word is out and so is the download

The Building Windows 8 blog just posted an item entitled “Running the Customer Preview: system recommendations” a few minutes ago, but I’ll be darned if I can find a download link for that software just yet. I’ll post that link as soon as it becomes available, though. And just now, it pops up “Welcome to Windows 8 — The Customer Preview.” The direct link is http://preview.windows.com. Go get ’em!

Windows 8’s basic system requirements are as follows:

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

If you ask me this is a kind of “wimpy platform” for testing and fooling around with Windows 8: it’s really more of a “bare minimum requirements statement.” In fact, the real action with Windows comes on  systems that include all of the following items:

  • UEFI (Universal Extensible Firmware Interface) to take advantage of Secured boot
  • a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) to make better use of BitLocker
  • a 64-bit CPU with second-level address translation (SLAT) to make use of Hyper-V in the OS. (Hyper-V also consumes at least 2GB of RAM so be sure to load your system up with extra memory!)
  • some games and graphics stuff requires support for DirectX 10 or higher, so a higher-end graphics module will be nice
  • Touch access works with conventional touch displays, but those that support 5 or more simultaneous touch points will provide an optimal Windows 8 experience (the OS itself requires only 2 right now)
  • and of course clean installs will require all the right drivers to make devices show up and work properly (be prepared for some digging around)

And remember: there is no rollback or upgrade from a preview Windows 8 installation, so back up what you’ve got before you install the customer preview, and be prepared to lose that installation when the “real thing” comes along later this year (though third party companies like LapLink may offer tools that migrate stuff from the preview to production versions, as they did with Windows 7).

Enjoy! I’ll be building my fully-loaded desktop PC this afternoon, and installing this software on that machine, plus on my just-purchased Lenovo X220T and T520 tablet and notebook PCs. Stay tuned for more news on those experiences. And I’ll be trying out the loaner 3M 21.5″ 20-point touchscreen on the desktop, too. Should be exciting!

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