|Windows 8 build 8400's Start screen|
|Kernel version||NT 6.2|
|CPU architecture||x86, x64, ARM|
|Release date||26th October 2012|
|Support end||Ended on 12th January 2016|
|Preceded by||Windows 7|
|Succeeded by||Windows 8.1|
Development of Windows 8 started before the general availability of Windows 7.
A Microsoft employee stated in his blog that Windows 8 will have the NT version number 7.0 and that the OS won't be shipped in a x86 version, but only as x64. However, the April 2011 leaks and PR from Microsoft indicated that the 32-bit Windows would continue and that the Windows 8 kernel version would be 6.2.
Steve Ballmer calls Windows 8 his "riskiest product bet" due to the high success of Windows 7.
At the CES 2011 in January 2011, a computer with an ARM processor was pictured running the "Windows 8" build 6.2.7867 showing that the kernel version had only changed to 6.2, most likely to keep compatibility with old software. It was determined to be an M2 build.
Four builds of Windows 8 in its early Milestone stages have been leaked: 6.1.7850 (M1), 6.2.7927 (M2), 6.2.7955 (M2), 6.2.7959 (Post-M2/Pre-M3), and 6.2.7989 (M3). Rumors show that because of the leaks of 7850, 7955, and 7959, two Microsoft employees were terminated due to leaking confidential software.
- Immersive User Interface (referred to as Modern UI, codenamed Metro).
- Start screen which incorporates the Modern design language and replaces the Start menu of previous Windows versions, making it more touch-friendly.
- Internet Explorer 10 was introduced, which was also the first version to have a 'Metro' mode for touch-friendly usage. Adobe Flash was also bundled with Internet Explorer.
- Modern versions of Mail, Calendar, People and Reader were introduced, some replacing their Windows 7 desktop equivalents. A camera app was also introduced.
- Windows Explorer was renamed as File Explorer and the interface was changed to one based on the Ribbon system.
- New Desktop Window Manager features, such as support for software rendering, and performance improvements.
- File History, which automatically creates backups of files located across the system, was introduced.
- Reset and Refresh options were introduced (the former re-installs Windows, while the latter retains settings and removes desktop applications)
- Windows Store, which is a place where users can purchase and download Metro-based apps, was introduced.
- Windows to Go was introduced for the Enterprise edition, which allowed users to carry Windows in a flash drive or a removable hard drive.
- Task Manager was redesigned, now showing startup programs, average program use, and improved graphs.
- File transfers were improved, now allowing users to pause a transfer. The file transfer speed can also be shown as a graph.
- A new feature to improve boot times called Fast Boot was introduced, which significantly cut down on booting times.
- USB 3 is now natively supported.
- Snap was introduced, allowing 2 Metro apps to be on one screen together.
- Battery life was improved.
- Online integration was introduced in the form of Microsoft Account, allowing users to use that account to login in Windows.
- Improved support for cellular connectivity.
- Windows Defender was upgraded to support full antivirus protection, effectively replacing Microsoft Security Essentials.
- The lock screen was redesigned.
- Hyper-V is now available on 64-bit versions of Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise.
- The Windows Start orb was changed into a blue flatter trapezium based theme.
- Taskbar and window border colours can now be selected automatically.
- A new installer was introduced, which reduced restart times and significantly quickened the installation time.
Features removed or degraded
- The Start Menu (and the button) was removed, which created a huge backlash and could well be the biggest reason for the eventual failure of Windows 8.
- Windows 8 can no longer use unified search as was possible with Windows 7; instead you must search categorically.
- DWM is now on permanently and cannot be turned off, effectively removing themes such as the Classic and Aero Basic theme.
- Translucency and blurring was lost in the windows as a flatter theme was introduced instead.
- Metro apps require a minimum of 1024x768 and Snap required a minimum of 1366x768.
- Windows 8 now requires NX, SSE2 and PAE extensions on the processor and needs it to be enabled.
- Hyper-V requires SLAT for it to work on Windows 8.
Offical Developer Preview - 6.2.8102
- 6.2.8102.101.winmain_win8m3.110830-1739 - Public Developer Preview
- 6.2.8102.101.winmain_win8m3.110831-1700 - KB2608612
- 6.2.8102.105.winmain_win8m3.110907-1505 - KB2616619
- 6.2.8102.106.winmain_win8m3.110908-1424 - KB2616150
- 6.2.8102.108.winmain_win8m3.110911-1502 - KB2617028
- 6.2.8102.109.winmain_win8m3.110912-1733 - KB2617868
- 6.2.8102.110.winmain_win8m3.110913-1848 - KB2618032
- 6.2.8102.112.winmain_win8m3.110915-1505 - KB2619246
Pre-Consumer Preview (Pre-Beta)
Consumer Escrow (Beta Escrow)
Offical Consumer Preview (Beta) - 6.2.8250
- 6.2.8424.fbl woa drop.120530-2000
- 6.2.8432.0.fbl woa.120611-2000