Windows 8 Release Preview Announced

Microsoft today announced the availability of Windows 8 Release Preview. The pre-release code is available for immediate download in 14 languages. This latest release follows the February release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which Microsoft says was downloaded more than 1 million times in the first 24 hours. No doubt Windows 8 Release Preview will see similar, rapid uptake.

Steven Sinofsky blogged about today’s release at the Building Windows 8 blog. As he notes, today’s drop will be the final pre-release of Windows 8. Next stop? Release to manufacturing.

There’s a lot of work that needs to happen between now and then, but if all goes well Sinofsky writes that he expects Windows 8 to “enter the final phases of the RTM process in about 2 months.” That schedule would make PCs with Windows 8 and Windows Runtime available for the holidays.

Oh, and forgive me for burying the lead, but Microsoft today also dropped release candidates of Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5, as well as of Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server. You can check out the announcement on the VS/.NET release from Jason Zander’s blog. S. Somasegar has also blogged about the release. More information on the TFS release is available here, on Brian Harry’s blog.

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