Windows 8 is now almost all grown up and ready for its official retail release. The new Microsoft operating system, which is scheduled to hit store shelves later this year, is now available for download as a release preview.
This is the last step in Microsoft’s process of making pre-release versions of Windows publicly available for testing. The release preview is meant to be an example of the complete product with all of its major features available and major bugs squashed. It’s not exactly what will be sold, but it’s close.
What’s new? A lot. Touchpad gestures have been improved for laptops, Adobe Flash is now integrated into the operating system from the moment it is installed, there are new customization options for the Start screen, multi-monitor support has been improved and new Microsoft apps that will replace the current Windows Live suite have been unveiled. All this is on top of a buffet of bug fixes and minor enhancements.
That’s not to say everything is in this release. Microsoft recently announced that it recognizes the problems caused by switching between Metro and the traditional desktop UI and is working on a new theme that will bridge the gap between them. However, that theme is not included. Also, while there are many more apps available in this build, the full suite will not be finalized and fully polished until the product hits retail stores.
Source: Ars Technica