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Microsoft launches Windows 8 Release Preview

Microsoft launches Windows 8 Release Preview

The Windows 8 Release Preview has a bunch of tweaks and changes, but the enabling of the Do Not Track flag has advertisers up in arms.

Microsoft has put the Windows 8 Release Preview up for download, giving users their first glimpse at what the next generation operating system will really be like at launch.

The primary changes over previous releases are new apps for the divisive Metro UI, including Bing Travel, Bing News and Bing Sports apps. If you think that's a bit Bing heavy, there's also a Gaming app and a Music app designed for use with Zune Pass on the company's Xbox 360 games console. The existing Mail, Photos and People apps have also been tweaked based on user feedback.

Additional improvements include enhanced multi-monitor support, increased personalisation options for the Start screen, a tweaked Windows Store interface and Family Safety features.

The real news, however, comes in the inclusion of a new build of Internet Explorer 10, which includes for the first time a default setting of 'Do Not Track.'

Introduced in multiple browsers to enhance user privacy, the 'Do Not Track' flag tells websites that the user does not want their doings recorded for behavioural advertising. Many browsers include the option, but Microsoft is going a step further by switching the flag on by default in Windows 8.

It's a move which has advertisers worried. 'Advertising has always been about connecting consumers to products and services that are likely of interest to them,' claimed Stu Ingis, general counsel for the Digital Advertising Alliance, in a statement regarding Microsoft's announcement. 'While new Web technologies deliver more relevant advertising to consumers, comprehensive industry self-regulation is also providing consumers with meaningful choices about the collection of their data. The Administration and FTC have praised these efforts. Today’s technology announcement, however, threatens to undermine that balance, limiting the availability and diversity of Internet content and services for consumers.'

According to the DAA, Microsoft's decision to enable the Do Not Track flag - described by the group as 'a unilateral decision by one browser maker, made without consultation within the self-regulatory process' - could have a serious impact on advertising-funded products and services available over the internet. Privacy advocates, naturally, disagree and have applauded Microsoft's move.

The Windows 8 Release Preview is available for free download now from the official website - but be warned: there's no in-place upgrade for users of previous releases.

35 Comments

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Paradigm Shifter 1st June 2012, 12:12 Quote
Cool; will download today and test when I have time.

Nice to see Microsoft taking a proactive approach toward user rights/privacy - the 'Digital Advertising Alliance' is talking nonsense about "self regulation"... some of the adverts on Bit-Tech are a perfect example of how targeted ads can totally fail to be relevant. And self regulation only works if everything is approached honestly...
Attila 1st June 2012, 12:14 Quote
I've been a very early adopter for every new Windows release since Win98. Having said that, I'm not interested in 'upgrading' to Eight. Win7 is a fantastic OS and I wouldn't give up Aero for anything. However the "do not track' function in IE is very welcome. You have to laugh at the advertising body though. Somehow they think it's their god given right to sell me stuff. To force me to see what they want me to see. But worst of all, to make me, and others who do not want stuff shoved into their faces, almost feel as we're in the wrong and just not playing by the rules.:)
tonyd223 1st June 2012, 13:03 Quote
Ok, is it just me, I'm now pretty bored of desktop PC's (shock!). I have android phones and an android tablet, haven't touched my Win7 netbook in months, and if it wasn't for World of Tanks, I probably wouldn't be using my main desktop either. Windows 7 does everything I want - I installed Win8 as a VM and it just confused me. As a touch screen interface I think it would make more sense, but, for me, this is a good point to think about whether I need desktop computing in my house or not.

Of course I'll keep a desktop for work...
SpAceman 1st June 2012, 13:07 Quote
Going to try this out on a VM now. I am really keen to start using Win 8. I started using Win 7 as my main OS when it was in RC form and I have never looked back. Learning a new interface will be tricky but from what I have seen from using the Dev and Consumer previews it is definitely a step forward.
ev1lm1nd666 1st June 2012, 13:59 Quote
Now they just need to add Kinect support so we can use the kinect sensor on the metro interface like we already do on the xbox 360. If the kinect was enabled this way the "touch screen" interface would make more sense on a HTPC (my main pc is attached to my 40" HDTV for movies etc)

In the meantime, I'll stick with Win7 but will try out Win8 in a VM
Coltch 1st June 2012, 14:36 Quote
Will try this in a VM to see what has changed from the CP, suffice to say I won't be 'upgrading' from Win 7 unless they ditch all the Metro crap.
Valinor 1st June 2012, 15:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
Cool; will download today and test when I have time.

Nice to see Microsoft taking a proactive approach toward user rights/privacy - the 'Digital Advertising Alliance' is talking nonsense about "self regulation"... some of the adverts on Bit-Tech are a perfect example of how targeted ads can totally fail to be relevant. And self regulation only works if everything is approached honestly...

Yeah, I laugh when I see adverts for products which received low scores from bit-tech.
Paradigm Shifter 1st June 2012, 15:06 Quote
I've given Win 8 RP a quick go in a VM on my laptop at work - it's no better than the Consumer Preview, and still won't be an upgrade I'm interested in.
richythomas 1st June 2012, 15:42 Quote
I've downloaded it at work ready for install at in a VM environment at home.

So far Win 8 has been "utter crap" from my point of view and will not be down-grading to Windows 8 when it's released unless something totally out of this world happens between now and the big release day when Microsoft release it to the unfortunate public.

I really do not like Metro on my desktop or laptop. I can see the point on a tablet or other touchscreen device but a proper computer? Nah, Microsoft have defintely lost the way, then need Bill Gates back at the helm to steer the non-controllable-rudder-fallen-off-ship that is now Microsoft. I can see why Microsoft are trying to cash in on the tablet / touchscreen but this is not the way to do it. A seperate Windows 8 Tablet Edition maybe but a one-size-fits-all Windows 8 is not the way to do it, I'm sure my employers (100,000 employees world wide) will probably not adopt Windows 8.

I'm really hoping something has changed in the latest pre-release but I'm not holding my breath.
Scarlet0pimp 1st June 2012, 17:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyd223
Ok, is it just me, I'm now pretty bored of desktop PC's (shock!). I have android phones and an android tablet, haven't touched my Win7 netbook in months, and if it wasn't for World of Tanks, I probably wouldn't be using my main desktop either. Windows 7 does everything I want - I installed Win8 as a VM and it just confused me. As a touch screen interface I think it would make more sense, but, for me, this is a good point to think about whether I need desktop computing in my house or not.

Of course I'll keep a desktop for work...

I think most people will be like you, though think your being a bit mellow dramatic. If your just browsing the internet a tablet or phone is fine I work on my latop, browse mostly on my phone and game on the desktop I only use it for gaming I play more than just world of tanks though. Ideally I would like a ultra high spec laptop for gaming, but since they are vastly more expensive I will stick to my tower PC in the celler/games room.
As for windows i'm looking forward to the higbrid tablet/latop designs and will probably get one of them at some point, not really intreasted in win 8 for my desktop. Though am lookng forward to the whole Win 8 Eco system thing with phone xbox and pc/tablet all integrated.
Wavefront 1st June 2012, 18:53 Quote
Well I finally took the plunge and installed it onto my laptop this morning. And it’s a horrible interface. Admittedly I don’t have (and don’t wont) a touchscreen but it’s just broken. I’m now ghosting back on windows 7. I may give the final release another go if they give the option to remove metro and reinstate the start menu but iv very disappointed :(
yougotkicked 1st June 2012, 19:23 Quote
I'll be dropping it into a VM as well. Though I doubt it will prove worthy of my desktop, it just might do the trick should I end up with a tablet in the near future.
yougotkicked 1st June 2012, 19:26 Quote
BTW, you need to follow a second link in order to find the ISO dl's otherwise you end up with some sort of automated download & install program.
fdbh96 1st June 2012, 20:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront
I may give the final release another go if they give the option to remove metro and reinstate the start menu but iv very disappointed :(

Surely that would just make it Win 7....

I actually quite like it and originally I tried it on VM but installed it on a separate parition eventually, and it feels a lot 'slicker' than Win 7 in desktop mode and I think its just as good as iOS for touchscreens.
Waynio 1st June 2012, 21:38 Quote
It still needs a geek version which is good old windows with improvements & a trendy version for all the smart phone lovers, I feel so alien compared to everyone else these days with not being a cell phone lover busy in my own little world texting people.

I'm dubbing windows 8 as windows smashed. :)
Paradigm Shifter 1st June 2012, 22:59 Quote
Further testing of the RP...

It's just so hard to do stuff with Metro on a desktop; it enjoys thrusting things I'll never want to use down my neck, while obfuscating many of the things I want to make easy. I find it particularly annoying that with no touchscreen, half the prompts are things like "Tap on the box to control how Windows handles blah-blah-blah." I could do that - but it wouldn't get me anything other than fingermarks on my LCD. Forcryin'outloud...
Yslen 1st June 2012, 23:05 Quote
I have to say, I like it. It's Windows 7 with (IMHO) a much better start menu, a platform for handy apps and the social network integration I've been missing ever since I stopped using Ubuntu.
12modderz 1st June 2012, 23:10 Quote
I tried the Consumer Preview on my main laptop and didnt much care for it, I personally don't think Metro will ever work on non-touch screen devices.

On my Dell Latitude XT (convertible multitouch tablet) however it works a dream and really demonstrates the operating systems strengths on touchscreens, much better than using Windows 7 on it.

I am a little mithered that I would have to do a clean-install over the Consumer Preview which I have some stuff installed on.
SpAceman 2nd June 2012, 06:27 Quote
Metro is actually really nice to use on a desktop when you start using the keyboard to control it. A lot better than Win7 keyboard use and that is really saying something.
Pookeyhead 2nd June 2012, 10:27 Quote
Until there's a hack or addon that disables Metro by default and allows it to boot straight to my desktop I have zero interest in Win8. I will use Win7 until it becomes obsolete, then probably move to a Mac.. as much as that saddens me to do so. I cannot stand this relentless shift towards tablet and mobile style interfaces. I need a proper computer to perform proper high end tasks and I don't want a OS that adds any barriers between me and a properly functional desktop environment. An os that treats the desktop like an optional app that I have to "run" can just go and **** itself.
Shirty 2nd June 2012, 10:36 Quote
I wouldn't worry too much Pook, I'll be amazed if this isn't hacked prior to retail release. If it's not then MS will probably end up releasing an update that allows it to be disabled soon after release. Public opinion on this scale really can make a difference, it's akin to forcing W7 to boot into media centre instead of the desktop - fine for a limited number of specialist devices, bht useless for the majority.
tristanperry 2nd June 2012, 10:45 Quote
Might check out this final preview, but my hunch is that I'll skip Windows 8 and wait until Windows 9 with a free Windows 7 mode comes out..
azrael- 2nd June 2012, 12:47 Quote
Not been reading the whole thread, but I did notice some people talking about giving the final release a chance when it comes out. Well, this is about as final as it gets before going RTM.

Although it's called "Release Preview" this is what is usually referred to as a release candidate. Meaning that it is feature complete and identical to what will ship as the release version. Only bugs will be ironed out now.

I know some people (myself included) would call Metro its biggest bug, but don't count on that particular showstopper being addressed. It's a particular shame that Microsoft didn't even feel the need to improve Metro mouse/keyboard usage over the Consumer Preview. Needless to say this version of Windows will probably never be installed outside a VM on my computer.
faugusztin 2nd June 2012, 12:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-
Meaning that it is feature complete and identical to what will ship as the release version. Only bugs will be ironed out now.

Except it is not entirely true - the replacement for Aero UI didn't make it in RP.
impar 2nd June 2012, 13:00 Quote
Greetings!

There will be a proper RTM version late July\August. That is the one where I expect to have all Aero features removed and completetly metrofied.
Culinia 2nd June 2012, 13:02 Quote
Adverts? What are they? I've been viewing the web ad-free since ad blocker plus came out on Firefox...now I use it on Google Chrome and it's lovely - the freedom and liberation from corporate guise.

The Internet looks horribly claustrophobic when I am on a friend's computer or a public computer!
RichCreedy 2nd June 2012, 15:23 Quote
why do people have such a loathing for the metro interface, you're all luddites, lol, live tiles, the os is very quick to load even with a harddrive, you can spend all day on the desktop if that takes your fancy.
faxiij 3rd June 2012, 00:06 Quote
"limiting the availability and diversity of Internet content and services for consumers."

LOL! as if advertising was content. advertising people really are the worst kind of people next to justin bieber and dictators.
silky 3rd June 2012, 03:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faxiij
advertising people really are the worst kind of people next to justin bieber and dictators.

Lol classic. Would be nice to add in EA though too.
Attila 3rd June 2012, 04:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
why do people have such a loathing for the metro interface, you're all luddites, lol, live tiles, the os is very quick to load even with a harddrive, you can spend all day on the desktop if that takes your fancy.

Tiles belong in the bathroom. Oh., and on phones. ;)
forum_user 3rd June 2012, 12:08 Quote
On my news feeds for months I've been seeing comments about how Win8 will be "revolutionary" and "amazing".

I'm not getting that impression from this thread though. But I do like the sound of getting rid of the traditional desktop and having live panels.
Pookeyhead 3rd June 2012, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
why do people have such a loathing for the metro interface,

Because it limits what I can do.

My only complaint is that it's not OPTIONAL. If I chose not to use it (which MS acknowledge as you can still get to a normal desktop environment should you want to) I should also have the choice of whether it boots into Metro or not.
TheDarkSide 3rd June 2012, 23:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
why do people have such a loathing for the metro interface,

Because it limits what I can do.

My only complaint is that it's not OPTIONAL. If I chose not to use it (which MS acknowledge as you can still get to a normal desktop environment should you want to) I should also have the choice of whether it boots into Metro or not.


surely though you wouldn't write off an OS completely based on the 2 extra seconds it'll take you to go from metro to desktop?
i agree it's not ideal, but if the win8 brings in a host of tangible improvements, then booting into metro is just a tolerable little nuisance.
azrael- 3rd June 2012, 23:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDarkSide
surely though you wouldn't write off an OS completely based on the 2 extra seconds it'll take you to go from metro to desktop?
i agree it's not ideal, but if the win8 brings in a host of tangible improvements, then booting into metro is just a tolerable little nuisance.
Even if it's just a minor nuisance (and I think it's more than minor) I'd avoid Win8 on principle. I certainly wouldn't want to confirm Microsoft's belief that Metro on the desktop is a good idea when it clearly is not.
Xir 4th June 2012, 08:54 Quote
Doesn't it have an autostart function?
Couldn't you "autostart" the switch to desktop-mode?
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