Windows 8 Consumer Preview Ready for Download

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Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview press conference is still underway, but the beta software is already available for download.

For most users who want to try out Windows 8, the Setup file is the way to go. It’ll check system compatibility, download the appropriate files and help with the upgrade process. An ISO file is also available for users who want to create a bootable disk or flash drive, but the Setup file also has tools for creating installation media.

(MORE: Windows 8 Consumer Preview: One Step Closer to the PC’s Future)

Keep in mind that if you install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you’ll need a recovery disk or the install software that came with your original PC if you want to revert back later. Make sure you have a means of recovery before proceeding, and backup any important files for good measure.

Here are the system requirements for Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster
  • Memory: 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit systems, 2 GB for 64-bit systems
  • Storage: 16 GB for 32-bit systems, 20 GB for 64-bit systems
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or higher

Access to the Windows Store requires an Internet connection (obviously) and a resolution of at least 1024-by-768. For the “snapping” feature that allows two Metro-style apps to run side-by-side, you need a resolution of 1366-by-768 or higher.

For more details on Windows 8 and the Consumer Preview, check out Harry McCracken’s hands-on impressions.

(MORE: Mountain Lion vs. Windows 8: Oh, So Very Different)