Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Beta now!

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When you first begin booting from the CD, an abstract version of the Windows 7 “BETA” (betta) fish image appears. You know you’re in for a treat. This is the Windows 8 “Consumer Preview” – or what most are calling “public beta.” You can download it from Microsoft, in an easy to use ISO format here:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso

On this page you can choose your language, decide if you need 32 or 64-bit, and get the product key which will be required to install.

The installation is extremely straight forward and simple. At one point I was asked to login with my “Microsoft account.” This, for those who may not be certain, is any existing Windows Live ID. If you’re on Xbox Live, you’ve got a LiveID. When it asked for my phone number, I clicked next without providing one. This is a password recovery feature also provided on account.live.com.

I installed to a VMWare image, so I could avoid any potential data loss or the need to move my data around at all. So in my virtualized Windows 8 environment, I immediately went for Xbox Live. I have no intentions of doing performance testing as my desktop is actually a few years old and doesn’t support hardware based virtualization. In other words it’s functional, but not very fast. Although I had a few programs close out on me when trying to get them to load, I’ve been able to play a little bit of Cut the Rope so far. Yes, it’s still fun, even with a mouse.

I’ll have more to say tomorrow, but if you want to check it out, now’s the time! Get downloading and enjoy!

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