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The Windows 8 Release Preview is Out!

The Windows 8 start screen hasn’t changed much at all.

The Windows 8 Release Preview is out! If you’ve been following along in our blog for awhile, or even if you haven’t, you might have tried the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the less-developed predecessor to this version. In fact, here is part 1 and part 2 of our instructions for installing it.

To install this new one, the directions above are exactly the same, but the URL has changed slightly. Grab the Windows 8 Release Preview here.

So what’s changed between the Consumer Preview and the Release Preview? Glad you asked.

  • The removal of Aero
  • The fancy transparent windows, rounded corners and other flashy effects typical of Windows Vista and Windows 7, and present in earlier versions of Windows 8, have been removed from the Release Preview. Microsoft is opting for a more stoic appearance, perhaps to encourage you to stick to the Metro icon-based part of Windows 8 and not mess with actual windows so much.

  • The removal of Windows Media Center
  • Though present in the earlier preview of Windows 8, the Release Preview does not have Media Center out of the box, and neither will the launch product. Microsoft will eventually want you to pay a fee to download it as an add-on. Luckily, you can still try out Media Center by clicking on the FAQ in the URL above for the product key.

There may be other little differences that Microsoft is not being very forthcoming with. The best way to discover them is to try it out!

Keep in mind that those of you moving from the Consumer Preview to the Release Preview will lose all your files and settings. Consider this a fun way to try out a new operating system — back up your files, and don’t save anything critically important while in Windows 8. 

Good luck and have fun!

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