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March 1, 2012

Microsoft Beta Day: Windows 8, Windows Server 8, Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework released

Photo credit: Microsoft
Yesterday Microsoft released several beta versions of it upcoming products, including the much awaited Windows 8 preview. Microsoft also released beta versions of Windows 8 server, Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework — targeted to develop apps using the Metro interface.

Windows 8
Microsoft seems to be on track to release Windows 8 before the holiday season starts, a date which Vista missed and eventually turned out to be a disaster. Steven Sinofsky, Windows and Windows Live president, made the formal announcement at the Mobile World Congress and launched the Windows 8 consumer preview.
Only x86 version is available for the general public, tough according to Betanews, it is available to select testers preinstalled on hardware.
Building Windows 8 blog detailed the major new things including:
  • Preview version of integrated Windows Store
  • Support for cloud services with early versions of Metro style apps for Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging and Photos along with integration with Skydrive
  • Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5
The most interesting features include the new metro style apps, which gives a glimpse of how the Windows world will be in around a year along with the Windows Store, which already seems to have some nice apps. For a more detailed review on the Windows Store, head to Ars Technica.
System requirements:
  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster
  • RAM: 1GB (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 or higher
  • Multi touch support enabled monitor (only if you want touch support)
Windows 8 consumer preview setup tool:

Windows Server 8 Beta
Along with releasing the Consumer Preview, Microsoft has also release Windows 8 Server beta. According to Microsoft product overview page, the key focus areas of the release include virtualization, multi server platform management, cloud support and enhanced support for open standards.
System requirements:
  • Processor: 1.4GHz 64 bit or faster
  • RAM: 512MB minimum (though you will want to have significantly higher)
  • Hard disk space: 32 GB minimum

Visual Studio 11 and .Net Framework 4.5
Includes various changes and enhancements, but the major change is support for Windows 8 metro style apps along with support for directly publishing the app to the Windows Store. Various versions are available for download including Ultimate, Professional, Premium and Express along with Team Foundation Server as well as standalone installers including .Net 4.5.

All in all a busy day at Microsoft, and the next steps in what could be the most important release in Microsoft history since Windows 95, one which could re-define the company.

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