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Windows 8 Consumer Preview is finally here!

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available online. The latest version updates the look of the Developer Preview which we reviewed last September and adds a number of new features while giving a face-lift to some of the old ones. You can watch the Windows 8 Consumer Preview below.

The round Start button has been retired; however the metro-style Start screen has been spared with the option of nine colours and five patterns for the Start screen background.

More exciting than the Start screen are the updates to desktop tools – this includes file copying, power management, security, networking and hardware support. We also shouldn’t forget to mention the smooth changing between apps.

Throw into the mix the first real Metro apps, – apps which work together, making it easy to search, share and send content between them – along with the Windows Store for the first third-party apps from real developers and now we are getting really excited!

It is worth mentioning that the Consumer Preview is only for x86/64 PCs; there isn’t an ARM version that you can download and try out, as there aren’t any ARM devices that will run it. This is due to the extremely customised way that ARM devices are built.

Microsoft isn’t supporting tablets built to run WebOS or Android, either.

A lot of what you see in the Consumer Preview will be the same on Windows on ARM (WOA) systems. Most features, from the Metro user interface from the touch gestures, to the Windows desktop and built-in Windows tools such as Explorer and Task Manager will be essentially identical.

The Consumer Preview can be installed directly from the web page instead of having to download the ISO file and burn it to an optical disc.

You can choose to burn an ISO if desired, and the installer can also create a bootable USB stick so that you can download Consumer Preview once and install it on multiple machines.

The tools for creating a Windows to Go to USB stick aren’t available, so you can’t run Windows 8 directly from USB, but you’ll get a far better feel for how Windows 8 performs if you can try it out directly on a PC.

Have you tried the Consumer Preview yet? What are your thoughts?

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