Microsoft has launched its Windows 8 Release Preview, the last iteration before the full version.
The technology giant released the latest version of the operating system for PCs, laptops and tablets yesterday despite plans to launch it in the first week of June. The Windows 8 Release Preview is the final pre-release version and is available to download in 14 languages. See also: Windows 8: the complete guide.
Microsoft said the Release Preview includes Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, new Windows 8 apps and hundreds of new and updated apps in the Windows Store. Since the first preview of Windows 8 was released last year millions use the OS on a daily basis helping hundreds of millions of hours of testing, according to the firm. See also: How to install Windows 8 and Install Windows 8 Release Preview.
The Windows Experience Blog said of the Release Preview: " There are many improvements and refinements across the Windows 8 Release Preview that folks will see right away, while others are under the hood. For instance, you will find more personalization options for the Start screen (including more colors!), improved multi-monitor support, and new Family Safety features to name just a few."
Looking forward Microsoft said: "Our next milestone is traditionally called RTM, Release to Manufacturing, and from today until RTM, we will still be changing Windows 8, as we have done in past releases of Windows."
It seems we are fast approaching the full RTM release of Windows 8 with Microsoft saying it will enter the final phase in around two months. "If we are successful in that, then we are tracking to our shared goal of having PCs with Windows 8 and Windows RT available for the holidays." said Microsoft.
As of 2 June Microsoft is starting a Windows Upgrade Offer meaning anyone who buys a machine pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99, when it is fully launched.