Microsoft begins distributing Windows 8 to OEMs via Connect

By Tom Warren, on 29th Mar 11 2:54 pm with 69 Comments

Microsoft has begun to distribute early copies of Windows 8 to key OEM partners, WinRumors has learned.

The software giant is distributing build 7971.0.110324-1900 via the company’s Connect external testing system. Key OEMs, including HP, are now able to access the Milestone 3 build from Connect. The program is advertised as Windows 8 and Server vNext Pre-Release Program, on Microsoft’s connect site and requires a special invite code, according to one poster at the My Digital Life forums.

The Connect news follows recent leaks of a system reset function in Windows 8. Microsoft is expected to be readying a Windows 8 beta for September. Microsoft’s primary Windows 8 interface is believed to be fully 3D. The interface will be “fully dynamic” and able to adapt to user habits. Icons and shortcuts will adapt to different usage scenarios to speed up daily tasks. Windows 8 is also rumored to include a new fast hibernation system. The system will hibernate in around three to six seconds and save all open documents and running tasks. Rumors suggest that Microsoft will create a dual-UI for Windows 8. A tile-based user interface codenamed “Mosh” will reportedly be included.

Microsoft has so far been extremely quiet on the Windows 8 front. Windows Chief, Steven Sinofsky, took to the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January to introduce a technology preview of Microsoft’s Windows ARM support and show off an early build of Windows 8. Microsoft is partnering with ARM-based manufactures NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to produce new Tablet devices.

  • Matthew Marley

    I wonder how long it will be before we see it on the torrent sites !

    • sarkis chamelian

      Leaks out Very Soon. . . . . ;)

  • Neerav Patel

    Not too long before it gets leaked out then!

    Unless they removed some of the more interesting consumer features.

  • Neerav Patel

    Not too long before it gets leaked out then!

    Unless they removed some of the more interesting consumer features.

  • rojo

    They are moving along pretty fast if they are already at milestone 3!

  • rojo

    They are moving along pretty fast if they are already at milestone 3!

    • GP007

      It’s looking like that rumor of a Win 8 tablet edition hitting before the full desktop release in early 2012 could come true at this rate.

    • Manish

      MS has to move fast because it expects Win8 as its first tablet os and wants tablet cetric os before destop one

    • Anonymous

      Fast compared to Microsoft, but slow compared to everyone else.

    • Bubbajoe

      HOW so?

    • Tom

      They started in August 2009. Plenty of time for three milestones.

  • WinPhoneJunkies

    I want to see this thing already!!!!!

  • TryllZ

    NO, NOT the windows 7 interface aain, man im sick of M$ interface being too lousy, why cant they get it done from normal people with intuitive skilz rather than their “Professionals”….please, an interface cane is all I ask……

    • Anonymous

      What the hell are you talking about? Did you read the article?

    • The Boss

      What an idiot.

    • Anonymous

      What the hell are you talking about? Did you read the article?

    • Tyler D.

      English, motherfucker, do you speak it?

    • sgb

      Normal people with intuitive skills? What about W7 is hard for you? You see what you want, you click it.

      Or maybe you are talking about how they give you options for different modes to use, to suit your computing/organizing style? Are you pushing the “tyranny of choice” crap?

      I am so sick of halfwits complaining that simple things are insufficiently simple. All the desktop OSes are basically the same. They are all mature computing platforms, doing the same things, in much the same ways, and already dumbed down further than I would like. Every time I lose options for the sake of “simplicity”, I suffer as a consumer — and mostly because the software engineers think “normals” are morons. No, they are not morons, but they will be if we keep treating them as such.

  • Anonymous

    By the time this ships, iPads and Windows PC’s will be selling 1:1. It will be very interesting to see who is left in the Windows community to receive Windows 8. With Vista, Microsoft built a high-end PC Windows, but by the time it shipped, the Intel Mac had taken 90% of high-end PC market and Windows PC’s had an average sales price of $450, which left them too weak to run Vista right. Now Microsoft is finally making a low-end PC Windows, but iPad is taking those customers now, taking the air out of the Windows 8 market years in advance. So they will likely end up shipping into a market of users who were too conservative for iPad and therefore too conservative for Windows 8.

    And these features are all here today (and for many years on OS X systems) on iPad: full 3D interface, fast hibernation, system restore, ARM architecture. Users who are attracted to those features are buying iPads and Macs for years now. And the Metro user interface has maybe 2 million users, and I’m being generous by including Zune HD in that number. There are more users of just the iPad 2 after only a couple of weeks. There are more users of just the Verizon iPhone, after a couple of months. So who s going to be lining up for Windows 8? I really can’t wait to see how it plays out.

    One great thing will be to see a version of Windows ship with IE9, which is much better than any previous Microsoft browser.

    • Jay Canfield

      “the Intel Mac had taken 90% of high-end PC market”

      In 2008, when Vista was released, Mac had 3.4% of the market share for PC’s. That is quite different from 90%. It saw a boost to 10% in Q1 2009, then slipped to 7.4% by the end of the year.

      I hated Vista, and own a few Apple products, and am by no means an MS fanboy. But damn, check your references. :P

    • Anonymous

      I’ve heard a variant of that figure from enough credible sources that I believe it: MacBooks represent 90% of the high-end (defined as $1k+) _consumer laptop_ market. If true, it’s still an impressive figure, but the missing modifiers make all the difference.

    • Withheld

      The relevance of this counter-intuitive statistic (if true, which I didn’t check) may be as simple as: Apple overcharges.

    • Anonymous

      You missed the point entirely. If all you want is for someone to recite the “Apple tax” argument with you — move along.

    • Guest

      @JohnDoey – Wow! So much complete and utter nonsense in such a small space. You *REALLY* have no concept of the industry from either a hardware or software perspective.

    • Celerian

      Oh you’re serious. Let me laugh even harder. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    • sgb

      re: iPads and Windows PCs selling at 1:1 by the time W8 ships. Really? 10 seconds of googling got me sales numbers of about 10 million for all tablets in 2010, and 388 million for all PCs. Thats a 1:38.8 ratio. Not quite the same as comparing iPads to Windows PCs, but since each dominates their own platform/form factor about equally in the early 90′s percentagewise, I figure that will do. I did find two articles proclaiming parity by 2015, but one seemed to be written off the other, and that other was written one month – one month! – after the iPad was released, proclaiming how it would take over the world, with dew-eyed joy over the “magical” new ipad. That’s right — “magical”. A piece of technology, an electronic device, described only as “magical”. Not sales, not marketing, but the device itself is simply “magical”. I am unlikely to trust the guestimations of a star-sotted would-be “journalist” that can’t stop gushing long enough to get one article out about how the “new” platform is sure to take over the whole, wide world in just a couple years. Please.

      I could see tablets in general getting closer to parity by 2015, thanks to inexpensive Android devices, but I can’t imagine 1:1 anytime soon. Unless tablets get a lot less stunted in what they can do. The most recent predictions I could find had Forrester research predicting 44 million tablet sales in 2015. Meanwhile, Gartner is predicting 295 million tablets sold in 2015. Quite a spread. That Gartner prediction brings them close to parity, especially if we assume that PC sales will drop by 25% or so. The fact that PC sales continue to rise year after year at a heavy rate suggests otherwise, but, hey, we can all pull imaginary numbers out of our nethers when it comes to predicting the future.

    • sgb

      Oh, hey, very sorry. I don’t know where I got 2015 as the predicted release date of W8. It’s more like 2012, in which case the predictions still show tablets as a whole (even accounting for the slew of cheap Andriod offerings) as a pittance compared to PC sales.

      Also, my estimates of iPads market share were way off. Androit tablets are at something like 25% market share, I gather, so iPad would be closer to 75%, not the 90-someodd that I noted above.

      Sorry. I should have done a bit more research. It would have made my argument much, much stronger. ;)

  • Rekrul

    Great, a new version of Windows with more backwards compatibility issues, higher system requirements and a whole host of new bugs.

    Shouldn’t they try to actually fix the current version before pulling the rug out from under everyone?

    • Trolling_is_lame

      Google employee? You guys should really stop trolling and make your tablets work. They suck.

      Windows 7 is great, everybody knows it, so stop spreading FUD. You should take a lesson from MS.

    • Adam Haider

      What’s there to fix? Windows 7 is perfect — in that it’s stable and works, unlike XP and Vista. They are working with the latest ARM technology so that virtually any system can run the OS without major issues. I don’t know about you but personally I have never had an issue with backwards compatibility; I even run early 90s dos PC games without problems and my computer is by no means up to date.

    • Strobe21

      Actually XP was always pretty stable. Vista has some stability issues the few several months of being released and then several patches later, Vista became an extremely reliable OS. It never got over that reputation in some critics minds and of course it required alot of resources that low end and older pc’s couldnt handle.

    • Hephaistos68

      Glad its perfect for you, I’d be happy if they would just fix the file system, stop to be smart and just do what the user asks for. There is nothing more annoying than trying to delete ONE folder and the system stays 30 minutes “discovering items”, what the hell do I care whats in that folder and how much it will delete? I KNOW that this folder must be deleted with all thats inside.
      And this makes a really simple system call into a complex endless and failure prone process. Damn devs, what the hell where you thinking?

    • Elmerohueso

      If you don’t want to wait, the skip the Recycle Bin. That extra time is what makes it so you can restore the files from the Recycle Bin after deletion.

    • Elmerohueso

      *then skip the Recycle Bin

    • Elmerohueso

      *then skip the Recycle Bin

    • Elmerohueso

      If you don’t want to wait, the skip the Recycle Bin. That extra time is what makes it so you can restore the files from the Recycle Bin after deletion.

    • Tyler D.

      What bugs, exactly? Do you have a list of what you are talking about, or are you just one of those angry Mac fanboys that just repeats all the rumors they hear about Microsoft as if they’re true?

  • llbbl

    New file system should be priority #1

    • Fri13

      I dont think Microsoft will abandon the NTFS anytime soon, it can develop it to have some of the same features what UNIX filesystems in Linux, FreeBSD and SunOS operating systems has like btrfs, ZFS, LVM2 (not actually a filesystem) and so on. So users would get a snapshots and logical volumes.

      What people really would need, is to get rid of the drive letters and partitions. Those are today just so limiting functions. The whole Windows idea around “My Computer” should be get forgotten as well. The “My Computer” (now just the “Computer”) should be changed to “Devices”. Where you could only see every attached device like printers, USB-sticks, speackers, display and so on. No partitions or other similar things, just what people use around the computer.

    • llbbl

      If they added any major features to NTFS I would find it hard to believe that would still call it NTFS. See HFS and HFS+ as an example, they will need someway to differentiate between the two. If you make a Lamborghini you want to market it has a Lamborghini not call it the same as that old Corolla you have been selling for years.

  • Anonymous

    Hope they keep their ink support. I feel like it improved a little from Vista to 7, but introduced a few small bugs. I think their ink support is a huge factor they need to showcase. A new file system would be really nice to so we wouldn’t have to defrag so often.

  • Anonymous

    This piques my interest!

    No, actually it doesn’t, I know better than to think two MS OSes in a row will be good, let me know when Windows 9 is out.

  • a concerned citizen

    I think the next move I make will be to linux as the primary O/S for machines and using WINE for whatever few remaining windows programs I need it for.

    • DorGreen

      that’s what i’m talking about. UNIX or UNIX-Like systems are way more stable and will outperfom every windows built to date. the other two major PC OS’s – Mac OSX and Ubuntu Linux are UNIX based, and one piece of harmony in this crule and standart-less world is bliss.
      I believe UNIX core will only get better this way, and for the end user – this should be for the good, not for the worst (assuming whey will built a good virtual machine to run .EXE and other windows-system files such as .VBS)

    • Lacif

      There are multiple reasons why that wouldnt happen, but to name just a few. Firstly have you actually tried heavilly using the latest builds of unbuntu (not just browsing the internet), in there effort to match the out of the box experiance of windows, they have basically run into exactly the same problems as microsoft, the system is becoming slower, blotted and unstable.
      Second, windows 7 works really well in large enviroments (2k+), and is comaprativly cheap when compared to changing all your systems over to macs, or trying to find enough unix enigneers. the 30+ macs we have on site are hideously overpriced, and are just as prone to failure as the windows boxs.
      While something like BSD is unarguably more secure and stable than windows, how many people do you know who are actually capable of supporting it? The simple problem with linux, is your either a full blown engineer, or have no clue how to use it.

  • DorGreen

    What? yet another windows-based Windows version??
    I really like windows 7. it is a little hard on resources from time to time, yet, mostly very good. BUT-
    UNIX or UNIX-Like systems are way more stable and will outperfom every windows built to date.
    the other two major PC OS’s – Mac OSX and Ubuntu Linux are UNIX based, and one piece of harmony in this crule and standart-less world is bliss. almost any other device runs some kind of UNIX or UNIX-Like system.

    BE BRAVE microsoft, and leave that windows core. pull a “windows mobile” on this one, and restart from almost-scratch. (WinPhone7 is based on Zune player’s OS, like in my vision Windows is based on UNIX)

    I believe UNIX core will only get better this way, and for the end user – this should be for the good, not for the worst (assuming whey will built a good virtual machine to run .EXE and other windows-system files such as .VBS)

    • Fri13

      Mac OS X use XNU operating system what is UNIX, while Ubuntu is just one of many distributions using Linux OS and Linux is Unix-clone operating system. You can find more information about Linux operating system from site and distributions of it (and from different BSD OS’s) from

      Microsoft still use NT operating system in Windows Desktop and Server versions, while it use CE operating system in Windows Mobile (Windows Mobile 6.x and Windows Phone 7) systems.
      Neither ones are UNIX or UNIX-clones and even that NT does support some of the UNIX functions with its UNIX-subsets (not installed by default), it has bad features.

      Microsoft will not change away from NT operating system in long term, as they really need to maintain the backward compability what demands totally native code execution by its Win32 platform and system calls. In theory, Microsoft could do as Apple did when moving away from Mac system to XNU operating system (what Apple use in Mac OS X and iOS) that they could seamlessly changed one OS to other and same time changing multiple different software platforms same time to current ones.

      What Microsoft really can do is just tweak the WDM (Windows Display Manager) and many other windows parts what are responsible for GUI and other functions but not the NT operating system itself. And today there is no reasons to change OS so much as Microsoft has done the smarter thing and toke the idea of UNIX systems where the UI is not part of the operating system anyway and every system program is separated from the OS. And that was the project MinWin what Microsoft did and toke in use in Windows 7. In that today NT operating system is just few megabytes size instead gigabyte what it was on Windows Vista, as Microsoft ripped off all the software what does not belong to the OS from the NT and got it back to size where it is comparable to any other OS’s like Linux (Size is from few hundred kilobytes to few megabytes depending how much functions user/distributor compiles to it).

      Microsoft needs now to pull out totally different GUI for Windows 8 if it wants its success to tablets or any other touch screens. As the current superbar idea does not work as touchscreens do not support WIMP form of the GUI but needs same idea as what Apple did understand and implented to iOS, that there are no more windows but just applications what you use.

      WIMP works well with pointing devices (P in WIMP) but with touch screens it really is terrible.

    • jglete

      Mac OS X is based on Darwin that is a BSD system, that is a “clone” of a UNIX system.
      I agree with the rest of your post.

    • CoolioJoe

      WDM = Windows Driver Model. WDDM = Windows Display Driver Model.

  • Spikerosoft

    ipads taking over windows?

    are you fucking insane?

    • Daffy Day

      People don’t buy a Windows computer. They buy what it can do. The iPad replaces 80-100% of what a Windows computer can do for 80% of the people out there.

    • Walsted

      76% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

  • Steve118x

    how much of this april fools crap are we going to have to wade through!

  • Bubbajoe

    I’m working on a contract for a Mac/Linux shop and develop Flash/Actionscript on a $500 laptop with Windows 7 and 2GB of RAM. With Flash CS5, Flash Builder, Eclipse, MySQL, an application server, various browsers and other support software it all runs nicely, though Flash can be a hog after hibernation.

    I maintained another company’s distributed software on Windows XP PCs at over 150 client sites. I don’t remember any problems with Windows instability; on the contrary I was surprised how well it handled our crappy software, with one program periodically creating 30GB files, but Windows still functioned. Some ran almost 10,000 hours without rebooting. One machine ran 15,000 hours without rebooting before someone pulled a plug on it.

    Windows works, get over it.

    And I’m not sure why I would ever need an iPad.

    • WSUS

      “Show me a windows admin boasting update, and I’ll show you a Windows Admin who hasn’t patched machines”

    • Yup

      Try this again…

      “Show me a windows admin boasting uptime, and I’ll show you a Windows Admin who hasn’t patched machines” :-)

  • radioman

    windows isn’t about f*** tablets, wakeup

  • gettingtired of tech creep

    Lets see your market still has over 40% using XP, then there’s even older windows OSs or even gasp Vista!still being used. Hmm maybe you need to remember that overpricing and setting ever more expensive system specs is not a good long term business plan.

  • DisturbedFood

    windows 8 is probably gonna get leaked.

  • Aargh, Haters!!!

    The Macholes and Googlites need to stop. You too Eunichs (UNIX).
    Windows 7 is very stable, fast and easy to use. It even runs EXTREMELY well on my Macbook Pro. I only run W7 on my Mac. Great hardware, shitty OS (OSX). I even run W7 on my 5 year old machines.
    MS needed to get W8 out quickly because of the tablet industry. Tons of people are moving to tablet PCs because of their ease of use and portability. The iPad being the primary target. Windows tablets are good, but the OS needs to be more touch based.
    I can’t stand Haters. You don’t have to like MS, Apple, or Google, but don’t be so closed minded in you ferver that you can’t see that the competition between the 3 is GOOD for US!!!

    • Teknomna2261

      The only hater is you dips hit. OSX shit? Your stupidity shows.

    • Daffy Day

      Funny, I run OS X on a Sony laptop because I don’t want to pay over £300 for Extreme Edition.

  • AdamG511

    Don’t see it in my Connect Directory. However, Home Server 2011 is there.

  • Mario Michetti

    They should get Windows 7 working FIRST. I had to reformat and go back to XP SP2 because most of my software craps out on Win 7.

    • Bubbajoe

      Consider the posibility that perhaps you don’t know what you’re doing.

    • Mario Michetti

      I’m sure you’re right. Me and my fellow DAW users have suddenly become stupid idiots, all at the same time, all on the same platform.

    • sgb

      Right. Your specialty-use software of choice is made by people who won’t write for an OS that is three years old (older, if you consider that Vista had the same underpinnings), and that is somehow Windows 7′s fault. Windows 7 works fine. Sounds like your DAW program is failing you. But, hey, the 00′s were an interesting decade, so enjoy your Windows XP.

    • ihatewindows7becauseimstupid

      haha… i’m cracking up.

  • Guest Who!

    Could it be possible that those who dislike M$ and everything about M$ just simply dislike M$? Arguments about the UI or the file system or resources or whatever, are just ‘red herring’ statements from people who would dislike any Microsoft product no matter how well conceived or engineered. If M$ developed a killer desktop OS that even other companies truly embraced…people would then say that Microsoft ‘finally’ released an innovative product, but it still would be a tad bit too late, yada, yada, yada. Microsoft can’t possibly win no matter what type of improvements to the os are done. The point is simply that when it comes to Microsoft; the company sucks, it creates horrible software, people who work there are spawns of satan etc…point taken we got it thanks. By the way, I run Vista–I know, I suck, thanks.