Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


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Frequently Asked Questions for Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Where do I download and get a license key for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Official US English Page @ Microsoft:

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview

What is the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a beta build of Microsoft Windows 8. The build is 8250 and identifiable as version 6.2 of Microsoft Windows. It is an upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7, and is expected to reach a commercial release during the final months of 2012. This release follows a number of leaked builds since 2011, as well as an official Windows 8 Developer Preview that was released in September 2011.

How can I identify this version?

The build string is 8250.winmain_win8beta.120217-1520
The build lab string for 64-bit is 8250.0.amd64fre.winmain_win8beta.120217-1520

.ISO Verification for Windows 8 Consumer Preview English x64 (64-bit)

Filename: Windows8-ConsumerPreview-64bit-English.iso
Size: 3.33 GB (3,583,707,136 bytes)
CRC32: B88B61A2
MD5: CDA63E335FB9AF5354C63441F5AA5169
SHA-1: 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749

English SHA1 hash for x32 (32-bit): E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39

Other valid SHA1 hashes for localized languages (64-bit and 32-bit):









To make sure the SHA1 hash is correct for the .ISO image you download, verify using HashCalc or HashTab:

Hash Calculator to Get, Compute and Calculate MD5 and SHA1 File Checksum or Hash Value « My Digital Life

What are the requirements to run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?
According to Microsoft, "Windows 8 Consumer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 7":

Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
RAM: 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 or higher

To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch

To access 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

How do I perform a "clean install" of Microsoft Windows (not an upgrade from Windows 7)?

Microsoft is now providing a product key directly from the download the .ISO image file from the link found off that page (previously you had to run the upgrade installer first to get a random key):

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO formats

Burn the .ISO file to DVD using the official instructions listed on that page.

Universal product key is now listed as DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J for testing.

How do I get a working Start Menu in Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Unfortunately, this seems to be a looming question, as the traditional Start Menu and Start Orb have been deprecated in favor of the touch screen friendly Metro UI (User Interface). LifeHacker in Australia recommends using a third party app to bring back the Start Menu:

Get The Start Menu Back In Windows 8 | Lifehacker Australia

One of our members, Ted Myers, recommends:

There is also a recommendation from our friends at EightForums shown in the above thread. Feel free to contribute your solutions and thoughts.

Can I use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview forever?

No. There is an expiration date set for January 15, 2013. This is also known in software development terms as a “time bomb”. After this date, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview will cease to function. The only way this will change is if Microsoft extends the preview duration.

Should I run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a production environment?

No! If you have any sensitive data that you would risk losing by running beta software, you should not run an unfinished operating system.

Is Windows 8 Consumer Preview “feature complete”?

This is a more difficult question. It does not appear that Windows 8 Consumer Preview is feature complete. When we use terminology to discuss software that is in development, we often use “bugs” and features”. Bugs, of course, being problems and issues with the operating system, and “features” being new stuff added to the operating system that can be used. Because Windows 8 is in a beta stage, many of the core features have likely been added. However, because of the unpredictable and secret nature surrounding the development of Windows 8, new features will likely appear in the final build. Under no circumstances could we assume that the operating system is aesthetically complete, and many features existing in the core operating system are almost definitely to be overhauled before release.

What is the point of running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Running the Consumer Preview allows both yourself and millions of people around the world, to test the next version of Microsoft Windows 8 before it is ready for use in businesses and homes. Windows 8 appears to be a unified platform for personal computers, workstations, smart phones, and touch pads.

Where is the ARM-based version of Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Windows 8 for ARM processors does not appear to be available for public use at this time. In fact, there is some evidence that it may be released separately from the retail and OEM versions of Windows 8. In all likelihood, the ARM-compatible version of Windows 8 that you will find on smart devices and touch pads will be sent to manufacturers for testing, and not necessarily public consumers. For those of you who do not know, ARM processors now power many miniaturized computing devices like smart phones and certain netbooks. It is different processor architecture.

What is the benefit of unifying Windows 8 and putting it on phones, pads, and other mobile devices?

The most obvious benefit, from a user perspective, is that you would potentially be able to run essentially any Windows-compatible applications on these devices, provided that you had strong enough hardware. This could include DirectX-powered games or software applications like Microsoft Word. This would require a consolidation of architecture or development of applications for both architectures at present time. The other obvious, and major advantage, would be Windows Live integration and a more cloud connected experience. There are likely to be some disadvantages to be discussed.

What happens now that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is released?

There are several things that could happen between now and the end of the year. Although it currently seems unlikely, it is very possible that Microsoft may elect to publish one or more Release Candidate (RC) versions of the operating system. Release candidates are typically feature complete, and are usually made public for bug squashing and feedback. All sorts of factors could become involved and we do not know if that will happen. If it does not happen, Windows 8 will simply be released-to-manufacturers (RTM) as OEM software, and then retail in public stores once development is finished.

Can I upgrade from the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to the final version of Windows 8?

While it *may* become technically possible to do this, no information technology professional will ever recommend that you do it. It is the same reason that no one really recommends that you upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista to Windows 7 simply to install Windows 7. It is simply not advisable to even plan on doing this due to the nature in which software is developed. Any remnants left behind from the Consumer Preview would, in theory, at the least, use up unnecessary hard disk space, and at most, create the conditions for failure.

I am having problems with Internet Explorer 10. What do I do?

IE 10 is not done yet. Time to download Google Chrome or Firefox. You can also try to switch out of the Metro UI mode and use Compatibility View, but don't hold a candle waiting for this to work at this stage.

How can I report problems or feedback that I find with Windows 8 Consumer Preview to Microsoft Corporation?

Microsoft will check their official forums for user generated feedback, but hopefully they will check sites like,,, and the hundreds of other high quality websites that make up the larger Windows Community of users, paying customers, and enthusiasts. Microsoft created an entire worldwide industry and network for people to become accredited and certified to manage and use their hardware and software, and that industry responds. Very effectively. If you don't like something about Windows 8, you should probably go let them know now.

You can also use these forums to discuss, sound off, and talk about Windows 8. Just remember that we are not owned or operated by Microsoft Corporation. Our Terms of Service and Usage Guidelines may allow for you to discuss issues more candidly, and one of our main goals is to remain unbiased and allow for free speech. This does not mean that this website is better or worse than the official Microsoft forums, it simply means that we exist as a service that you can use.

I have more questions that have not been answered in this FAQ. Is there an official FAQ somewhere?

Yes. Windows 8 Consumer Preview: frequently asked questions

The official Windows 8 Consumer Preview FAQ will help you with some more specific questions and answers.

Please feel free to contribute to this thread at your leisure.


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