Microsoft releases Windows 8 RTM through TechNet

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Subscribers of Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet programmes can now download the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of its latest operating system, Windows 8.

Offered as a free download, the new software is the final build of the OS. The company is also allowing users who are not part of either programme to download a 90-day time limited version of the OS for evaluation.

Microsoft said that the latest release would allow administrators and developers to test and evaluate the OS before its general availability on 26 October.

The new OS sports performance updates as well as the new "Modern UI" interface (formerly known as Metro). The OS is also the first version of Windows to be made with touch screens in mind.

The latest version isn't significantly different from the Release Preview launched a few weeks ago, but does have an upgraded set of applications that no longer feature the word "Preview" on start up. These default apps include Mail, People (a social network application that integrates with Facebook and Twitter), Messaging, Music and Video.

Windows 8 will also be the first in the family of Microsoft operating systems to support the ARM processor. However, the company has not made a preview version of this generally available to the public.

Earlier in the week, Microsoft said that it had lined up a number of hardware vendors, including Lenovo, Dell and Samsung to make tablets that will run the ARM version, dubbed Windows 8 RT.

Microsoft is also keen to move users away from its old Windows XP operating system with the new OS being sold as a $40 upgrade. Buyers of new Windows 7 PCs will be able to upgrade for $14.99. UK pricing for this has not yet been confirmed.

The company is looking to launch its latest server OS, Windows Server 2012 around the same time.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.