Just when you got used to Windows 7, Microsoft is threatening to ship Windows 8. The first public beta is slated to be released at the end of this month, with a final ship date rumored to be in October.  So, what does Windows 8 mean for you?

Network World Lab Alliance member Tom Henderson took the pre-beta code around the block to see if Windows 8 is heading in the right direction. He reports that Windows 8 represents a major step by Microsoft to bring all of its operating systems -- from smartphone to tablet to desktop client to server -- under one code base. Microsoft is also making a bold move by enabling Windows 8 to run on ARM processors, which are used for smaller, low-power devices.

Microsoft is also adding new management features, beefing up the Hyper-V hypervisor and adding cloud capabilities. 

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