- Broad range of product changes and improvements. Since the Developer Preview in September, designed to preview the programming platform, Windows 8 has progressed across every dimension. From completing the user experience for touch, keyboard and mouse to refining the development platform, the Consumer Preview improves performance, quality and reliability across all subsystems.
- With the added features, it represents a more complete view of the capabilities of Windows 8. Windows Store with new apps. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview marks the beta opening of the Windows Store, which is filled with a variety of new Metro style apps from both third-party developers and Microsoft. During the Consumer Preview, these apps are available to try and experience at no cost to users. The Windows Store will offer personalised recommendations, and Windows 8 gives users the ability to take their apps and settings with them across multiple PCs, making it easy to discover and try new apps while offering developers the greatest opportunity of any platform.
- Connecting to the cloud across Windows-based PCs and Windows Phone 7. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers seamless integration with the content people care about across their Web services. An optional additional sign-on with a Microsoft account provides access to a host of features, including the ability to roam all settings, use cloud storage, communicate with email, calendar and contacts, and connect to a broad range of services. Your connection to the cloud works across your Windows-based PCs and your Windows 7 phones.
- Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5. The best way to experience the Web on Windows is with Internet Explorer 10. The browser has been re-imagined to create a new experience designed specifically for Windows 8 devices. It provides an edge-to-edge user interface that is all about less browser and more Web. Fast and fluid, Internet Explorer is hardware-accelerated to enable Web performance.
- Preview of new hardware capabilities. At the event, Microsoft also showcased Windows 8 running on a wide range of new x86- and ARM-based reference hardware. This hardware will be available to select developers for trial and testing as previously announced.
I’ll highlight in this post just a few examples of new capabilities that you’ll want to explore. With the new Hyper-V we are taking virtualization above and beyond to provide a multi-tenant platform for cloud computing. For example, with Hyper-V Network Virtualization you can create virtual networks so different business units, or even multiple customers, can seamlessly share network infrastructure. You will be able to move virtual machines and servers around without losing their network assignments. In Windows Server “8” we are delivering high availability and disaster recovery through software technology on much more cost effective hardware. For example, with File Server Transparent Failover you can now more easily perform hardware or software maintenance of nodes in a File Server cluster by moving file shares between nodes with little interruption to server applications that are storing data on those file shares. We’re also delivering a tremendous amount of new capabilities for multi-machine management and automation. You will want to explore the dramatic new improvements to Server Manager, as well as the new Windows PowerShell. With 2,300 commandlets provided out of the box, Windows PowerShell allows you to automate everything you can do manually with the user interface. And, with technologies like Intellisense, we’ve made it very easy for you to master all of that power. Additionally, Windows Server “8” provides a powerful server application platform that enables you to develop and host the most demanding of application workloads. For example, with .NET Framework 4.5 you can take advantage of new asynch language and library support to build server and web applications that scale far beyond what other platforms provide. Our new IIS 8 web server provides better security isolation and resource sand-boxing between applications, native support for web sockets, and the ability to host significantly more sites on a server.
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