Windows 8 arrives for TechNet & MSDN subscribers, 90-day trial available to all

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The final, RTM build of Windows 8 is now officially available to download for MSDN and TechNet subscribers after being made available on torrent sites earlier this month. This is the same code that will be available to the general public on October 26 as an upgrade or with new Windows 8 PCs. Microsoft Software Assurance customers will get the RTM tomorrow, and Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers on September 1.

If you are feeling a little impatient, Microsoft is also offering a 90-day trial edition of Windows 8 Enterprise. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available to anyone for free as ISO images in several languages. We should note, however, that this evaluation edition cannot be upgraded to the full retail version when the 90-day period expires -- your best bet is to configure a Windows 8 virtual machine or install it on a separate partition.

Windows 8 Enterprise includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro, plus a few business-focused options like Windows To Go, DirectAccess, BranchCache, and RemoteFX virtualization.

The final code is almost the same as the Consumer Preview released in June but there are a few notable changes, including more customization options for the Start Screen, no more Aero, new Bing and People apps, and some minor improvements under the hood. Microsoft also launched a final version of its Windows Store today and opened it to developers so they can start working on Windows 8 style (not Metro) apps.

We’ve posted some fresh performance numbers comparing Windows 8 with its Windows 7 sibling, covering boot up and shutdown times, file copying, encoding, browsing, gaming and some synthetic benchmarks.

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