For those interested in testing out the beta version of Windows 8, the Consumer Preview is now available to the public for download. Microsoft is offering two versions for download, a 32-bit and a 64-bit version. Unlike the previous Windows 8 Developer Preview that was unveiled last fall, the consumer preview of Windows 8 is more fully featured and will likely be similar to what we will be seeing in the final retail release version of Windows 8 later this year.
I won’t be going over what’s new in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, as many sites like Gizmodo have already gone over some of the new features. Aside from the new MetroUI (which I have previously commented on), there are some other impressive features in Windows 8, such as Storage Spaces (a new storage pooling option which is very similar to the Drive Extender technology seen in the first version of Windows Home Server), as well as built-in Hyper-V virtualization features.
Granted, with the significant amount of changes, not everyone will like Windows 8, as the MetroUI interface is a very touch-oriented user interface that is geared towards touch-based devices and not so much for traditional keyboard and mouse computers and laptops.
You can grab the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (directly from Microsoft) here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/iso