Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Evaluation Copy Of Windows 8 RTM Released To The Public

Just a few short week ago Microsoft confirmed it had finalized Windows 8 and issued the release to manufacturing copy to their OEM partners. Now it looks like they have gone one step further and released a 90-day evaluation copy of that very same Windows 8 RTM for just about anyone to download and test out.

Originally intended for developers building Windows 8 apps and IT professionals interested in trying Windows 8 Enterprise on behalf of their organization before making their final purchase decisions, the evaluation copy was posted to the MSDN and TechNet subscriber page. However that page is currently assessable to anyone. All you need to do is register for the trial and begin the download.

The download generates an .iso file, or disk image, that must be burned to physical media, such as a DVD or a flash drive, or installed in a virtual machine. Once installed the evaluation is valid for a full 90 days of use. At which time, Windows 8 blackens the desktop background, displays a persistent notice that the OS is not genuine, and most draconian of all, shuts down the PC every hour without giving the user a chance to save works in progress.

When the evaluation period expires, users will have to replace it with a purchased copy or another operating system, and reinstall all applications, other software and files. "It is not possible to upgrade the evaluation to a licensed working version of Windows 8," Microsoft warned. If a user downloads and launches the evaluation copy today, it will run until Nov. 12, 2012, about two-and-a-half weeks after Microsoft officially launches Windows 8. This means you won't want to rely on it as a primary operating system, as once it expires you'll likely need to do a full format and fresh install. However for those wanting to test out the full release without relying on the leaked torrented copies this is ideal.

The trial copy of Windows 8 Enterprise must be activated within 10 days of its first launch, but Microsoft said a product key was not required. It is available in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

To download the 90-day try-before-you-buy -- available in 32- and 64-bit versions -- start at this Microsoft website.

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