Are you ready for the Windows Consumer Preview?

Official Windows Consumer Preview wallpaper

With just a few hours left before the official release of the beta of the next version of Windows, the Redmond based software giant was still hard at work towards the pre-Release Candidate (RC) builds of Windows 8, which according to our source, has reached the 8288.0.winmain.120223-1751. But with today’s release of Windows Consumer Preview in Barcelona, Spain. Microsoft will be rolling out the final beta build 8250.0.winmain_win8beta.120217-1520. Here are some the features that we might be seeing in the build which were not discussed previously:

  1. The new windows logo will be part of the charm bar and can be customized.
  2. The Show Desktop bar is not visible but still feature complete.
  3. New setup icon and installprep splash screen image.
  4. The new default coral lockscreen wallpaper and betta fish metro wallpaper and a lot of wallies inside

Microsoft earlier released PlayReady PC Runtime v.2.3 for Windows Consumer Preview for both x86/64 machines. To give you an overview of what does this application was all about, PlayReady Runtime allows PC based applications to access PlayReady content using the PlayReady PC Runtime API. Here are some the applications’ key features:

· Enabling Business Models for Digital Content
Microsoft PlayReady supports a wide range of business models for digital content providers, including:
– Subscription: Provides access to an entire catalog of content in exchange for a recurring fee.
– Purchase: Offers content for purchase and download.
– Pay Per View: Provides pay-per-view choices for all content types.
– Rental: Enables rental scenarios with time-based licenses.

· Enhanced Content Access Features
Microsoft PlayReady provides enhanced features designed to enable new consumer entertainment scenarios:
– Protection for many content types: Protects games, images, and ringtones, in addition to music and video. For audio and video content, Windows Media Audio (WMA), Windows Media Video (WMV), Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), AAC+, enhanced AAC+, and H.263 and H.264 codecs.
– Use of multiple devices in domains: Makes it easy for consumers to transfer and enjoy content on all of their supported devices.
Embedded licenses: Enables smoother transfer of content from device to device and from PC to device.
– Backward compatibility: Permits devices that support Microsoft PlayReady to play back content protected with Windows Media DRM (digital rights management technology).
– Rights visibility: Provides more information about content usage rights to your users.
– Error granularity: Provides clearer and more helpful error messages to users.
– Easier deployment: Rapidly develop support for Microsoft PlayReady in new mobile devices.

· Multiple Distribution Options
Microsoft PlayReady supports many different options for distributing content:
Basic and progressive downloads: Content can play while downloading.
Streaming: Content can be streamed to devices.
Side-loading: Content can be synced from a PC to a mobile device supporting Microsoft PlayReady.
Direct License Acquistion over the air: Content and license can be provided directly to a mobile handset over wireless networks.
Super-distribution: Content sent over user-to-user distribution channels, such as e-mail, multimedia messaging services (MMS), informal WiFi networks, and Bluetooth, can be monetized by providers.

PlayReady PC Runtime v2.3 (x86) Windows 8 Consumer Preview

PlayReady PC Runtime v2.3 (x64) Windows 8 Consumer Preview

You can later get the direct download and torrent links of Windows Consumer Preview on the Downloads page of this blog .


What’s in store in the Consumer Preview

Sources close to Microsoft confirms that Windows 8 Build 8250 is the final Consumer Preview that we will be getting at the end of this month. A Chinese website has recently posted some cool screenshots of the build.

PC Settings aka Control Panel



Picture Password


Windows Store

Games in the Store

Download progress

Category page

Category page

There are new additions on the list of games and applications that are present in the Consumer Preview but we didn’t know if the initial list of applications, which you can find here and here, will be included in the public build.

Stay tuned.


A First look at Windows 8 Metro-style Communication apps

In the recent Windows 8 blog, Microsoft shows how Windows 8 runs on Advanced RISC Machine architecture or the ARM processor. Running Windows 8 on these devices has the same experience running on x86/64 machines. In the video provided by Microsoft, we can see a lot of improvements on the next version of Windows in terms of user experience, design and functionality. The company, for the first time, gave us a glimpse of the Office 15 running on ARM which has been optimized for both touch and keyboard. Microsoft has also unveiled its core communication apps like the Mail, Photos, and Calendar.

These apps, according to Microsoft, running on ARM will be the same as the apps running on x86/64 machines. Although music and video apps were not mentioned in the blog, these apps will still be part of Windows 8 core apps.

Windows Store preinstalled apps for Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Looking back on our previous post regarding the first Windows Store games for Consumer Preview, we have noticed that no preinstalled applications were mentioned aside from, of course, the games. Today, from the Verge, sources closed to Microsoft unveiled some of the Metro-style applications that will come along with Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

  • Camera
  • Messaging
  • Mail
  • Calendar
  • SkyDrive
  • People
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Music
These are just some of the applications that we might have to see in the Consumer Preview which will be release at the end of this month.  According to the source, Mail, Calendar, People and Messaging are not part of Windows Live but instead designed as a core communication apps of Windows 8. Microsoft is also currently working on the Messaging app to have SMS support enable. It was also mentioned that Music and Video apps are currently branded with Zune but it is being built by the Xbox Team. With this scenario, the two apps maybe bundled together with Games on Xbox Live for Windows when the next generation operating system hits the shelves later this year.



Windows 8 Consumer Preview due on February 29 at MWC

The long wait is over. Mark your calendar because it is official! Microsoft is hosting a Windows 8 Consumer Preview on February 29, 2012 for the World Mobile Congress at Barcelona, Spain. It is a two hour event that will kick off at 3PM (CET).

A tweet from Microsoft informing the public of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview event at Barcelona, Spain

Microsoft is planning to deliver a Developer Preview (already released to public last fall), a Consumer Preview (or the Beta), a Release Candidate and a Release to Manufacturing of Windows 8.

It is very unusual for Microsoft to release an Operating System on a mobile conference. Are they positioning Windows 8 as an operating system for mobile gadgets? Or this is just in time for the Windows 8/Windows phone marriage announcement when the “Apollo” features leaked  couple of weeks ago?


Windows Store games for Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Windows Store

Microsoft is gearing up for the beta launching of its Windows Store together with Consumer Preview of Windows 8 later this month. According to the Verge, a source close to Microsoft has detailed a list of games available when Windows opens its Store to public. Here is the list of the games that will ship with Windows Store:

  • Hydro Thunder
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Reckless Racing
  • Angry Birds
  • Ilomilo
  • Rocket Riot
  • Full House Poker
  • Tentacles
  • Crash Course
  • Ms Splosion Man
According to the source, Pinball and solitaire will come pre-installed on Consumer Preview and the list mentioned above as an optional downloads from Windows Store.  Looking again on the list, it seems that they have not included Cut the Rope (they forgot to mention? or maybe because its a paid app ?) which is one of my favorite games. They didn’t mentioned if Windows Live apps and immersive video, music and photo apps will be included.
For now we will just have to stay here and wait until Microsoft opens its door for Windows Store and Consumer Preview.

Windows Store

Windows 8 Consumer Preview detailed installation and improvements

With our previous post on some improvements that we might have to see in the beta build of Windows next generation Operating System, a large number of screenshots leaked a week after, showing an x64 architecture of Windows 8 Consumer Preview . Today, has listed down some of the improvements on build 8220 of Windows 8 Consumer Preview which was compiled last January 27, 2012, same day as build 8194 which both came from winmain branch.


Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup

The New Start Screen Background color and images

User can now choose on different parallax images and different set of colors from the list of default images and backgrounds.

Selecting a tile

Start Page Help

Start Page Selection Bottom Bar

New template for Apps Menu

With the new menu template for Apps, searching for Apps is very easy since it is alphabetically and categorically arranged.

Apps Menu view

New Icon Sets for both Immersive and Personalization

A new set of icons will be launch on Beta although what we have only seen so far were for the My Computer and Network icons. In the screenshot below we can notice also that no confidential watermarks and hash tags were present in both desktop and winver.

Winver and New Icon for Personalization

Snap feature

The New Touch keyboard

Splitted touch keyboard

Improved Immersive Internet Explorer 10

Immersive IE with new About dialog box

No more Start Button

After several years, the start button has finally removed from Windows 8 and replaced by the start thumbnail.

Start Thumbnail

 Improved Charm Bar

The new transparent Charm Bar can be accessed by putting your finger or mouse pointer on the right side of the screen and by hovering on icons it became dark.

Transparent Charm Bar

Dark Charm Bar during hovering

Desktop Settings

More Organized Ribbon in Explorer

More organized Ribbon

Closed Windows Store (will be opening soon)

Windows Store

Aside from visual improvements, a lot of bug fixes has been made to make this build more stable and  much faster than Windows 7 SP1. The build was also running smoothly on both touch and traditional non-touch devices.

Download Windows 8 Nature Themepack

Screenshots of the Beta Candidate build of  Windows 8 are now leaking in the wild. A lot of improvements has been confirmed by the build testers. One of the items that catch the viewers’ attention is the beautiful HD wallpapers used in the screenshots. Here are some of the examples:

The themepack has been extracted directly from Windows 8 Consumer Preview build 8220 and it has 4 HD and 2 Widescreen wallpapers. If you are using Windows Developer Preview, you can download this and give it a try.

This has not been tested on Windows 7. If its working or not, feel free to comment.

Download the themepack from here

Windows Server 8 Datacenter screenshots leaked

After some screenshots of Windows 8 Consumer Preview leaked few hours earlier. Another set of screenshots has once again leaked in the Chinese website PCBeta, and this time from the Server build of Windows 8 Beta.

Start Screen

Server Dashboard

System Information

Windows Server 8 Beta Datacenter Build 8220

Microsoft Confidential

With these screenshots from both Windows 8 Client and Server builds, can we expect an early gift from Microsoft?

Betta Fish on Bing… Windows 8 Beta is coming….

Windows blog Italia has recently post a special Bing Homepage in Youtube showing a betta fish with roll overs indicating what we should expect with Windows 8 Beta. Some are complaining that they cannot access the said homepage maybe its because the homepage was still under test but  this was perfectly running on Internet Explorer 10.

This was not the first time Microsoft test their Bing Homepage in public. Remember the Metro Bing?

If you want to see it for yourself go to this link

Can’t really wait for Windows 8.