It’s Here: Windows 8 Release Preview Now Available

After a few leaks and premature teases, the Windows 8 Release Preview is here. Microsoft had previously hinted that it would be available the first week of June, but the final pre-release is out and ready for you to download and try out.

According to a blog post announcing the Release Preview, this release is the last one before the Release to Manufacturing (aka “RTM”) phase, and the Windows 8 team will continue to solicit feedback from users and tweaking the new OS before the final version is available. From here on out, Microsoft says that it’s focusing on reliability, security, peripheral compatibility, resource utilization, and fine tuning the user experience.

The Release Preview includes Internet Explorer 10, access to the Windows Store, and apps for Hotmail, SkyDrive, Messenger, among other programs. Microsoft also pointed out that if you buy a Windows 7-based machine now, you’ll be ready for Windows 8 when it launches.

With any luck, the RTM product will be getting final touches in about two months, with products running Windows 8 in stores in time for the holiday season.

If you're hankering for a test drive, hit up the Windows 8 Release Preview page here.