June 11, 2012, 10:02 AM —
The Windows 8 Release Preview arrived ahead of schedule, and I've spent the past week pounding on it. For those of you accustomed to the earlier Consumer Preview, many of the changes hardly rate a yawn. But some show that Microsoft's not down for the count just yet.
The most distressing point? We won't see another snapshot until Microsoft crosses its self-imposed finish line. Past versions of Windows have strewn the battlefield with successive release candidates. With Windows 8, you can kick the tires with this version, but you'll have to hold your breath and see what the final quantum jump will bring. Most assuredly this Release Preview is not a release candidate.
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In this look at Windows 8 Release Preview, I won't go over all the baggage that's been debated before -- no, the Start button isn't there; yes, you have to get used to those Metro tiles; no, the interface isn't easy to learn; yes, the Metro to Desktop jumps will knock the eyeballs out of your sockets; no, people with PCs who have to get "real work" done won't like it; yes, on a touch device some of it actually grows on you. Instead, I'll focus on the improvements, quirks, and shortcomings of this last look before gold code.
If you haven't yet downloaded and installed Windows 8 Release Preview, Gregg Keizer has thorough instructions in his Computerworld article.