Here are answers to some common questions about Windows 8 Release Preview.
Windows 8 Release Preview is a prerelease version of Windows 8 that focuses on people and apps and gives you powerful new ways to use social technologies to connect with the people who are important to you. It's Windows reimagined. Windows 8 Release Preview is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7 and has the security and reliability features you expect from Windows, but we’ve made it even better. It’s fast, and it’s made to work on a variety of form factors—especially the new generation of touch devices.
Here’s your chance to be one of the first to try it out. Similar to Consumer Preview, we'll be using information from Release Preview users to make the final product even better.
For detailed product and feature information, download the Windows 8 Release Preview Guide
(available in English only).
We strongly recommend that only experienced PC users download Windows 8 Release Preview. Before you download the preview, you should weigh the pros and cons of installing software that's still in development. If you install the preview release, you'll get to try out the many new features, but you might also encounter errors that you wouldn't encounter using a released version of Windows.
You should consider downloading the Windows 8 Release Preview only if all of the following apply to you:
You like to use the latest software and enjoy experimenting with new technology.
You're comfortable backing up a PC, formatting a hard drive, and installing an operating system from scratch.
You feel comfortable troubleshooting PC problems yourself.
You don't mind updating software frequently.
You have the installation or recovery media and the knowledge to restore your previous operating system after you're done testing Windows 8 Release Preview.
Yes. Windows 8 Release Preview is stable and has been thoroughly tested, but it’s not the finished product. Your PC could crash and you could lose important files. You should back up your data and you shouldn't test Windows 8 Release Preview on your primary home or business PC.
You might also encounter problems like:
Software that doesn’t install or work correctly, including antivirus or security programs.
Printers, video cards, or other hardware that doesn’t work.
Difficulty accessing corporate or home networks.
Files that might become corrupted.
You should carefully balance the risks and rewards of trying out the Windows 8 Release Preview before you install it.
The best way to provide feedback is to participate in the Windows 8 Release Preview forum. On this dedicated forum, you'll find thousands of other Windows enthusiasts who are testing our product, posting their experiences, and participating in the Windows 8 Release Preview online community. In particular, if you think you've encountered a problem that you'd like to have addressed in future releases of Windows 8, post a “Bug Report” about your issue on the Windows 8 Release Preview forum. In your post, describe what you encountered, any text or messages that were displayed, and other information that would help us reproduce your issue in our own testing environments. We're monitoring the Windows 8 Release Preview forum and might ask you to post additional information to help us improve the experience.
We’ve created some online forums where you can ask questions and get answers from other Release Preview testers and Microsoft support professionals. (We don't offer technical support for prerelease software, including Windows 8 Release Preview.)
Visit the Windows 8 Release Preview forum
Visit the Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview forum
Visit the developer forums for building apps
Visit the IT pro forums for Windows 8 business features
Windows 8 Release Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 7:
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
Hard disk space:
16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
Additional requirements to use certain features:
To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch.
To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768.
To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768.
Internet access (ISP fees might apply)
Physical Address Extension (PAE), NX processor bit (NX), and Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2) refer to features of the processor. PAE enables 32-bit processors to access more than 4 GB of physical memory on capable versions of Windows and is a prerequisite for NX. NX allows the processor to help guard the PC from attacks by malicious software. SSE2 (a standard on processors for a long time) is an instruction set that is increasingly used by third-party applications and drivers. For Windows 8, we require that your processor support NX for security reasons to ensure that malware defense features work reliably. To enhance the reliability of third-party applications and drivers running in Windows 8, SSE2 is also required. If your PC does not support PAE, NX, and SSE2 you won’t be able to install Windows 8 Release Preview.
Free developer tools and samples are available from the Windows Dev Center downloads page.
Windows 8 Release Preview is available in Arabic, English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
If you install Windows 8 Release Preview in a language that's different from the language currently on your PC, you can only keep your files.
Windows 8 Release Preview should work with the same devices and programs that work with Windows 7. In some cases, the device or program might require an update or you might need to uninstall some programs, and then reinstall them after installing Windows 8 Release Preview. The Windows 8 Release Preview Setup program will scan your PC to determine what's compatible and provide a report that you can save or print. Make sure your devices are connected to your PC and turned on before you run the Setup program. If you want compatibility info for a specific device or program, see the Windows 8 Release Preview Compatibility Center.
A Microsoft account is an email address and password that you use to sign in to Windows. You can use any email address, but it's best if you choose the one you already use to communicate with friends and sign in to your favorite websites. You don't need a Microsoft account to use Windows 8 Release Preview, but we highly recommend that you use one. When you sign in to your PC with a Microsoft account, you’ll connect your PC to the people, files, and devices you care about. (If you need an email address, we can give you one for free.)
When you sign in with a Microsoft account, your PC is connected to the cloud and:
Your friends’ contact info and status automatically stay up to date from places like Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as soon as you connect those services to your Microsoft account.
You can get to and share your photos, docs, and other files from places like SkyDrive, Facebook, and Flickr.
Your personal settings are synced to any PC running Windows 8 Release Preview that you sign in to, including your themes, language preferences, browser favorites, and apps.
You can get apps in the Windows Store and use them on any PC running Windows 8 Release Preview that you sign in to.
If you've already installed Windows 8 Release Preview and didn't sign in with a Microsoft account or you don't have a Microsoft account and want to get one, follow these steps:
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Settings.)
Tap or click Change PC settings.
Tap or click Users.
Tap or click Switch to a Microsoft account.
Yes, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Release Preview from Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Windows Developer Preview, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, but you might not be able to keep all of your files, programs, and settings. The following table shows what you can keep during an upgrade depending on the current version of Windows running on your PC:
Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Nothing (your files will be saved in the Windows.old folder)
Windows Developer Preview
User accounts and files
If you create installation media, start your PC from the media, and then install Windows 8 Release Preview, you won't be able to keep your files, programs, or settings. To keep files, programs, or settings you need to install Windows 8 Release Preview by starting your installation from within Windows.
If you were running Windows 8 Consumer Preview and installed Windows 8 Release Preview and didn't reformat your hard drive during installation, you should be able to retrieve your files from the Windows.old folder.
You can run a troubleshooter that will automatically retrieve your personal files from the Windows.old folder and copy them back to their original location. The troubleshooter will work on all languages but the text in the troubleshooter is only in English.
Run the Recover personal files troubleshooter.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Search (or if you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search), enter Computer in the search box, tap or click Apps, and then tap or click Computer.
Double-tap or double-click the drive that Windows is installed on (typically, the C: drive).
Double-tap or double-click the Windows.old folder.
Double-tap or double-click the Users folder.
Double-tap or double-click your user name.
Open the folders that contain the files you want to retrieve. For example, to retrieve files in the Documents library, double-click Documents.
Copy and paste the files that you want from each folder to a folder in Windows 8 Release Preview.
Repeat steps 5-7 for each user account on your computer.
No. To go back to your previous version of Windows, you'll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC; typically DVD media. If you don’t have recovery media you might be able to create it from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer’s website for more information. After you install Windows 8, you won’t be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.
For instructions on reinstalling Windows 7, see Installing and reinstalling Windows 7.
The Start screen replaces the Start menu in Windows 8. You can pin apps, contacts, and websites to Start to easily access what you use most. All of your apps—both apps you install from the Windows Store and desktop apps—are available from the Start screen. You can organize, group, and name categories of apps in whatever way makes sense to you. Tiles and notifications show what’s new so you can get important info and updates at a glance.
Whenever you want to search for something, use the
Open the Search charm one of these ways:
With touch, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
With a mouse, move your pointer into the upper-right corner of the screen, move it down, and then click Search.
With a keyboard, any time you’re on Start you can just start typing.
Enter your search term.
From here, you can choose to:
Search the app you're in (for example, find a specific message in the Mail app).
Search another app (for example, quickly look up something on the web with Internet Explorer).
Search your entire PC for an app, setting, or file.
The Share charm lets you share files and info with people you know or send info to another app, without leaving the app you're in. You can email photos to a friend, post an article to Facebook, or send a link to your note–taking app.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Share.
(If you’re using a mouse, move your pointer into the upper-right corner, move it down, and then click Share.)
Pick which app to share with, and then follow the on-screen instructions.
Here are some options:
If an app has a File menu with a Print command, you can still use that.
For new apps that support printing but do not have a File menu , tap or click the printer you want in the Devices charm.
Not all apps support printing.
If the printer you want to use isn't listed, here's how to add a printer:
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, move your pointer into the upper-right corner, move it down, and then click Settings.)
Tap or click Change PC settings, and then tap or click Devices.
Tap or click Add a device, and then follow the on-screen instructions.
The Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging apps work great with services you already use, like your email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
Here’s how you add an account:
In the app, open the Settings charm, and then tap or click Accounts.
Tap or click Add an account.
Tap or click the type of account you want to add, and then follow the on-screen instructions.
In Windows 8, apps you install from the Windows Store don’t slow down your computer, so you don’t need to close them. When you’re not using an app, Windows will leave it running in the background and then close it eventually if you don’ t use it.
But if you really want to close an app, here’s how:
If you’re using a mouse, click the top of the app and drag it to the bottom of the screen.
If you’re using touch, drag the app to the bottom of the screen.
It’s still a good idea to close desktop apps when are done using them, particularly before shutting down your PC.
In Windows 8 there are a few different ways to find and change your settings: Control Panel, PC settings, and Search. Most of the settings that you'll want to change can be found in PC settings.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search).
Enter Control Panel in the search box, tap or click Apps, and then tap or click Control Panel.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap More PC settings.(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, click Settings, and then click More PC settings.)
To find individual tasks or settings quickly, use the Search charm. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.) Type a word or phrase into the search box, and then select from the list of results on the left.
Windows Media Center is not preinstalled in Windows 8 Release Preview. If you want to use Windows Media Center, you need to add it by following these steps:
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)
Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Add features to Windows 8.
Tap or click I already have a product key.
Enter this product key: MBFBV-W3DP2-2MVKN-PJCQD-KKTF7 and then click Next.
Select the checkbox to accept the license terms and then click Add features.
Your PC will restart and Windows Media Center will now be on your PC and the tile will be pinned to the Start screen.
To play DVDs in Windows 8 Release Preview, you might need to either add Windows Media Center or install a third-party app that supports DVD playback.
When you finish using your PC, it's a good idea to turn it off properly—not only to save energy, but also to help keep it secure and make sure your work is saved.
Tap or click Power, and then tap or click Shut down.
Shut down and Restart (or Update and shut down and Update and restart) appear by default in the Power menu. You can also add other options like Sleep and Hibernate to this menu.
You should close any desktop apps you have open before shutting down your PC. This will prompt you to save any work that you might have open on the desktop.
Windows 8 Release Preview comes with Windows Defender, which has been improved in Windows 8 to provide the same level of malware protection as Microsoft Security Essentials. You do not need to install Microsoft Security Essentials and it will not work with Windows 8. Microsoft will continue to provide and improve Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. If you're upgrading to Windows 8 Release Preview, you should uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials first. For information on uninstalling Microsoft Security Essentials, see How to manually uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials.
Yes. With a Microsoft account, you can see all of the apps you bought from the Store and you can install any of those apps on up to five PCs.
Open Windows Store, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Settings.)
Tap or click Your account, tap or click Sign in, and then tap or click Sign up for a Microsoft account.
After apps are installed, a tile for the app appears on the Start screen. If you don't see the tile for an app, you can try searching for the app on your PC:
Make sure the search is set to search Apps, and then enter the name of the app.
If an app doesn't appear in the search results, you can reinstall it on your PC:
Open Windows Store, swipe in from the top edge of the screen, and then tap Your apps.(If you're using a mouse, point to the top of the screen, right-click, and then click Your apps.)
Swipe down on or right-click the app you want to reinstall, and then tap or click Install.
You can install any of the apps you bought from the Store on up to five PCs. To install one of your apps on another PC:
Swipe down on or right-click the app you want to install, and then tap or click Install.
If you're having a technical problem with an app, you can contact the developer of the app for support. To view the developer's support info:
Open Windows Store, and go to the app's description page.
Tap or click App support to see the developer's support website or contact info.
If you have questions about Windows Store, you can get answers from other Windows users and Microsoft technical support in the Windows 8 Release Preview forum.
A desktop app is designed specifically to run on the desktop. You can view description pages for desktop apps in the Windows Store, and you’ll need to tap or click the link provided on the desktop app’s description page to install the app from the developer’s website. After the desktop app is downloaded from the developer’s website and installed on your PC, you can run it from the Start screen (which will open the desktop) or pin it to the taskbar to directly run it from the desktop.
If you're using a version of the Windows Store that supports app purchases and you have a problem buying an app from the Windows Store, or if you have questions about the billing info associated with your account, you can contact customer support to get help.
Internet Explorer 10 provides an “add-on free” experience. It supports HTML 5 for video content, but you can't install toolbars and add-ons in Internet Explorer 10.
If you are viewing a webpage that requires an add-on, you can view the content by opening the website in Internet Explorer for the desktop. To do this, swipe in from the right edge of the screen (if you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen), tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Use the desktop.
Internet Explorer 10 doesn't use the traditional Favorites from previous versions. Instead, you can pin websites to the Start screen or open a list of pinned sites and frequently visited sites using New tab.
If you open Internet Explorer for the desktop, you can use the traditional Favorites, but you can’t access the pinned sites from the Start screen.
To view a website in Compatibility View, open Internet Explorer for the desktop, and then click the Compatibility view button in the address bar.
On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)
Enter Default programs, and then tap or click Apps.
In the search results, tap or click Default Programs.
Tap or click Set your Default Programs.
Choose the browser you want from the list.
Select Set this program as default, and then tap or click OK.
Internet Explorer 10 might have accidentally become unpinned. To pin it back to your Start screen, follow these steps:
Enter Internet Explorer, and then tap or click Apps.
In the search results, swipe down on the Internet Explorer icon, and then tap Pin to Start. (If you're using a mouse, right-click Internet Explorer, and then click Pin to Start.)
If you have questions about or want to provide feedback on Internet Explorer, visit the Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview forum.