Installing Windows 8
While Microsoft is making Windows 8 available to the public, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. This build (8102) is a pre-beta, which is why it would be premature for us to run any benchmarks on it. Microsoft is trying to highlight functionality as opposed to performance.
The system requirements are pretty tame. If you have hardware that can run Windows 7, you can run the preview version of Windows 8. Fair warning, though. There’s a decent chance that these requirements will change once Windows 8 goes gold.
Windows 8 Preview: System Requirements
- 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
- Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch
- To run Metro-style Apps, you need a screen resolution of 1024 X 768 or greater
There are three developer builds available at Microsoft’s website. Everything is x86-based, so if you were looking to root and experiment with an ARM-oriented version of Windows 8, you’re out of luck. That’s slated for a much later date (most likely next year).
Versions available for download
- Windows Developer Preview with developer tools English, 64-bit (x64)
SHA-1 hash - 6FE9352FB59F6D0789AF35D1001BD4E4E81E42AF (4.8 GB)
- Windows Developer Preview English, 64-bit (x64)
SHA-1 hash – 79DBF235FD49F5C1C8F8C04E24BDE6E1D04DA1E9 (3.6 GB)
- Windows Developer Preview English, 32-bit (x86)
SHA-1 hash - 4E0698BBABE01ED27582C9FC16AD21C4422913CC (2.8 GB)
If you’re running 64-bit apps and or have a preponderance of RAM, you’ll want the 64-bit version of Windows 8. Otherwise, all three builds are virtually identical. However, the 64-bit build with developer tools includes the following:
- Windows SDK for Metro-style apps
- Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Developer Preview
- Microsoft Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview
- 28 Metro-style apps, including the BUILD Conference app
If you don’t have a blank DVD (or dual-layer DVD, in the case of the 64-bit build with developer tools), you’re going to need to create a bootable USB flash drive from the ISO image. Fortunately, the procedure is pretty simple. Just install and use Microsoft's Windows 7 USB/DVD tool, which requires .NET Framework 2.0.