Following last year's Developer Preview, Microsoft has now released the Consumer Preview for the general public to download. If you fancy giving the new operating system a try on your PC or laptop, you can download either the 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows 8 for free from Microsoft's website.
With over 100,000 changes since the Developer Preview, the latest version of the OS is much more feature-complete and should be a better indication of the final version which Microsoft should release later this year.
The downloads are ISO images which need to be burned to a DVD or installed to a USB flash drive in order to install Windows 8. However, if you don't have a spare hard drive on which to install the operating system, there's also a 'Setup' version which Microsoft recommends for installation onto another partition, another PC, or a virtual machine.
During installtion, you'll be asked for a product key. This is the one to use for all versions: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J. You can choose to upgrade your existing version of Windows or do a clean install. We'd recommend a clean install on a separate hard drive, or partition as this is unfinished software and it's unwise to jeopardise your computer, especially if it's the one you use every day.
For more details about Windows 8 and its new features, see our coverage of the launch event.
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