Windows 8 Start Screen
Windows 8 Start Screen

Microsoft today released the Windows 8 Release Preview, which will let the public see more or less the final build of Windows 8.

Many expected the final build to be available in early June but it seems Microsoft just couldn’t wait. 

The Release Preview includes all of Windows 8 unique features like the infamous Metro UI and a look at the new apps such as SkyDrive, Hotmail, Internet Explorer 10 and Messenger. The Release Preview also has a few performance and stability issues fixes.

Windows 8 Desktop UI
Windows 8 Desktop UI (Credit: Building Windows 8)

If you would like to download the Release Preview for free, take a look at Microsoft’s site.

Here are the system requirements from Microsoft:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Additional requirements to use certain features:

  • To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch.
  • To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768.
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768.
  • Internet access (ISP fees might apply)