Last night Microsoft has released the Release Previews (Release candidates) of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. These releases are feature frozen which means there will only made bugfixes before the RTM will be released in August.
Windows Server 2012 Release Preview: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh670538.aspx
Windows 8 Release Preview: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso
How can you test these releases? I've wrote a article a few months ago on how you can test the Consumer Preview, just use the Release Preview media and this post: http://www.robvanhamersveld.nl/2012/02/29/here-it-is-windows-8-consumer-preview/
Yesterday Microsoft announced the number of 'Windows 8' editions and its related features. There will be 4 different editions of Windows 8 (Windows 7 has 6 editions). Next to that Microsoft also confirmed 'Windows 8' as the official name for the next version of Windows.
The first one is 'Windows 8', this edition is similar to Windows 7 Home Premium and the best choice for the home user. New in this edition compared with Windows 7 Home Premium is the ability to change the interface language after the installation (not once but every time you want), in Windows 7 this feature is only available in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions. Please note that the 'Media Center' feature is not available (this is optional to Windows 8 Pro, read below).
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro is the business edition of Windows 8 with support for Active Directory domain services, BitLocker and other features which are now available in Windows 7 Professional. Next to the standard features you'll have the ability to buy the optional 'Media Center'-package.
Windows 8 Enterprise
This edition will offer the same as Windows 8 Pro with some extra features like multiple deployment options, more security features, virtualization and computer management.
Windows 8 RT
This is an complete new version of Windows 8 to run on ARM-based devices (Phones and Tablets). This edition will only be available pre-installed. The Windows 8 RT edition will include modified versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote optimized for touchscreens.
See the chart below for an overview of all features by edition.
Today I'm playing around with VMware View and Windows 8 CP based virtual desktops. Because I had to build a new lab environment I grabbed the opportunity to play with the beta of Windows Server 8. I've installed a Server 8 VM to be the Active Directory domain controller, first thing I noticed was that dcpromo.exe is realy gone (heard it a while ago). When you run dcpromo.exe you'll get a message witch will tell you to use the (new!) Server Manager;
Oke, I'll use the Server Manager instead... After installing the AD role and required features I can promote the server to be a Domain Controller. I chose to install the DNS role using the promotion wizard but after selecting a name for the new forest I got the following error (An error was detected in the DNS configuration);
If you get the same error, don't worry... It resolves itself... (as said by Microsoft on Technet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831622.aspx);
The rest of the wizard is self explaining and not very different of the pre Server 8 wizard.
For those how want to know whats new in Windows Server 8 Active Directory I recommend to watch to following Technet video; http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/edge/Video/hh867801
Yesterday I posted about the general availability of the Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview and how you can create a VMware workstation VM and install Windows 8 on to it. For those users who want to install the Win8 CP on a VMware vSphere 5 environment please check VMware KB article 2006859 (http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2006859). You have to install a vSphere ESXi patch before you can create and install a Win8 VM.
Well Microsoft promised us to release the Windows 8 Consumer preview in februari 2012, and they dit.... On the extra day...
So where do you get your copy?
Product Key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J
More info on http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso
The Consumer Preview will have the following apps pre-installed;
- Video and
Also new in the Consumer Preview in addition to the Developer Preview (released on September 13, 2011) is the availability of the Windows Store. Microsoft has released several games for download from the Windows Store.
Using/testing Windows 8
You could install Windows 8 on your laptop or desktop computer but be aware that its still a Beta product and you might experience some bugs and problems. A quote from Microsoft;
Note before you download: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. If you decide to go back to your previous operating system, you'll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC.
The best way of testing Win8 is to install it into a Virtual Machine. I made a short video tutorial on how you create a Virtual Machine in VMware Workstation and install Windows 8 CP.
If you don't own a VMware Workstation license you can use VMware Player (free download: http://www.vmware.com/go/downloadplayer/).