Last week, Microsoft officially unveiled its Windows 8 Consumer Preview at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ending months of speculation about the new-look OS. (Get the free download here.)
By now, we expect most PC enthusiasts will have downloaded the Consumer Preview and spent a few days getting to grips with the operating system's new features. Indeed, it was downloaded more than one million times on its first day of release.
The Consumer Preview is a pre-release edition of Windows 8 that's unfinished and incomplete. However, it still gives a good indication of what the final product will be like and comes with features not present in the earlier Developer Preview - including access to the Windows Store.
Metro interface with CD popup window.
Other improvements over Microsoft's previous OS including a faster, more streamlined browser (in the shape of Internet Explorer 10), deeper customisation, improved multi-monitor support and the ability to connect to your data and settings wherever you sign in with a Microsoft
account (read more here
The biggest change, however, has to do with the user interface. As you know, Windows 8 is a significant departure from Windows 7, with a much stronger emphasis on smartphone-style apps and touch integration. This has resulted in criticism from some quarters, with some critics complaining that the tried-and-tested Windows Desktop has been forced to play second fiddle to the tile-based Metro interface.
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Start screen.
Wherever you stand on the debate, it cannot be denied that Windows 8 aims to take the OS in new directions. Whether it's better for the user, that is in the eye of the beholder - which is why we want to hear from you.
DISCUSS: What are your first impressions of Microsoft's Windows 8 Consumer Preview? Share your thoughts, tips and opinions in the comments section below.
Get the Windows 8 Consumer Preview here
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