Microsoft has released system recommendations and installation tips for the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 (click here to download).
Something important to keep in mind is that you won't be able to upgrade from the Consumer Preview to the full version of Windows 8 when it is released.
"The final release of Windows 8 will not support upgrading from any prior Windows 8 "Preview" release, though the migrate option will still be supported," is the explanation on Microsoft's blog.
Microsoft also recommends running the Consumer Preview natively on compatible hardware, rather than in a virtual environment. As the blog entry notes, "The most important reason is access to the rich experience powered by accelerated graphics, and the fast and fluid operation that you’ll experience when running this way."
Consumer Preview users will, however, be able to use the migrate option (i.e. keep personal files, but not apps and settings). Running the Disk Cleanup Wizard is recommended to clear some space and remove the old version.
For the 32-bit version of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft recommends using:
- a Windows 7 PC with a 1GHz processor or faster
- minimum of 1GB RAM
- at least 16GB of hard disk space
- DirectX 9 graphics with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
For the 64-bit version, the company suggests the same specifications as above, but with an extra gigabyte of RAM (for a total of 2GB) and 20GB of hard disk space.
You'll also need a screen resolution of 1024x768 pixels to take advantange of Metro-style applications and 1366x768 for the snap feature (which allows two applications to be displayed side-by-side). Attempting to launch Metro apps with a lower resolution will result in an error message.
For touch-based features, you'll naturally need to run the Consumer Preview on a touch tablet, convertible, all-in-on, or touch-capable monitor.
According to Microsoft, "a vast majority" of Windows 7 touchscreens will perform "well" for Windows 8. That said, the blog goes on to state that "basic" touch interactions can be done "with a reasonable degree of success".
Naturally, Microsoft advises you do a system backup before upgrading to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. You can find more information - including additional hardware requirements and specific touch-based hardware examples - at the company's Building Windows 8 page.
Have you installed your copy of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview yet? Discuss your opinion of the new OS in the comments section below.