Download Windows 8 Release Preview (Release Candidate – RC) Build 8400 Official

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 May 2012 01:09 Written by admin Thursday, 31 May 2012 01:09

Microsoft has release the near-final build of Windows 8. Available for download in no less than 14 languages, Windows 8 Release Preview can be grabbed via this link.

 

Since this build is really the Release Candidate of Windows 8, as you might know, the RTM stage is next. RTM stands for release to manufacturing, and it’s both a milestone as well as an entire stage. One it goes gold, or hits RTM, Windows 8 will be shipped to computer manufacturers worldwide to be pre-installed on next generation machines. Microsoft will also start creating DVDs of Windows 8 RTM that will be sold at retail.

 

Our focus from now until RTM is on continuing to maintain a quality level higher than Windows 7 in all the measures we focus on, including reliability over time; security to the core; PC, software, and peripheral compatibility; and resource utilization. We will rely heavily on the telemetry built into the product from setup through usage to inform us of the real world experience over time of the Release Preview. In addition, we carefully monitor our forums for reproducible reports relative to PC, software, and peripheral compatibility. We’ll be looking hard at every aspect of Windows 8 as we complete the work on the product, but we want to highlight the following:

  • Installation – We have significant telemetry in the setup process and also significant logging. Of course, if you can’t set up Windows 8 at all, that is something we are interested in, and the same holds for upgrades from Windows 7. Please note the specifics regarding installation requirements and cautions found on the download page.
  • Security and privacy – Obviously, any vulnerability is a something we would want to address. We will use the same criteria to address these issues as we would for any in-market product.
  • Reliability and responsiveness – We are monitoring the “crash” reports for issues that impact broad sets of people. These could be caused by Windows code, Microsoft or third-party drivers, or third-party apps. Information about crashes streams in “real time” to Microsoft, and we watch it very carefully. We also have a lot of new data coming on the hundreds of new apps in the Windows Store.
  • Device installation and compatibility – When you download a driver from Windows Update or install a driver via a manufacturer’s setup program, we collect data about that download via the Plug and Play (PnP) ID program. We’ve seen millions of unique PnP IDs through the Consumer Preview. We also receive the IDs for devices that failed to locate drivers. We are constantly updating the Plug and Play web service with pointers to information about each device (driver availability, instructions, etc.) We actively monitor the use of the compatibility modes required when the first installation of a Windows 7 based product does not succeed.
  • Software compatibility – Similar to device compatibility, we are also monitoring the installation process for software, and noting programs that do not install successfully. Again, we have the mechanism to help move that forward, and/or introduce compatibility work in the RTM milestone. Here too, we actively monitor the use of compatibility modes required when the first installation of a Windows 7-based product does not succeed. We have tested thousands of complex commercial products from around the world in preparation for the Release Preview.
  • Servicing – We will continue to test the servicing of Windows 8 so everyone should expect updates to be made available via Windows Update. This will include new drivers and updates to Windows 8, some arriving very soon as part of a planned rollout. Test updates will be labeled as such. We might also fix any significant issue with new code. All of this effort serves to validate the servicing pipeline, and to maintain the quality of the Release Preview.
  • New hardware – Perhaps the most important category for potential fixes comes from making sure that we work with all the new hardware being made as we all use build 8400. Our PC manufacturing partners and hardware partners are engineering new PCs, and these include hardware combinations that are new to the market and new to the OS. We’re working together to make sure Windows 8 has great support for these new PCs and hardware.

In fact, as some have noted, the RP itself was compiled over a week ago (build 8400). It takes time to complete the localized builds, validate the download images and process, as well as gear up all along the network edge for a fairly significant download event.

The path to RTM is well defined and critical to the careful and high quality landing of Windows 8 for our PC manufacturing partners. The changes we make to the product from RP to RTM are all carefully considered and deliberate, including some specific feature changes we plan on making to the user experience (as we talked about in previous posts). This is a routine part of the late stages of bringing a complex product like Windows to market. Throughout this process, every change to the code is looked at by many people across development and test, and across many different teams.  We have a lot of engineers changing a very little bit of code.  We often say that shipping a major product means “slowing everything down.”  Right now we’re being very deliberate with every change we make and ensuring our quality is higher than ever as we progress towards RTM. The product is final when it is loaded on new PCs or broadly available for purchase.

RTM itself is a product development phase, rather than a moment in time. We continue to roll out Windows 8 in over 100 different languages and we are preparing final products for different markets around the world. As that process concludes, we are done changing the code and are officially “servicing” Windows 8.  That means any subsequent changes are delivered as fixes (KB articles) or subsequent servicing via Windows Update.  Obviously, our ability to deliver fixes via Windows Update has substantially changed the way we release to manufacturing, and so it is not unreasonable to expect updates soon after the product is complete, as occurred for Windows 7. There are no surprises here, but we’re making sure readers of this blog know what is coming down the road.

Once we have entered the RTM stage, our partners will begin making their final images and manufacturing PCs, and hardware and software vendors will ready their Windows 8 support and new products. We will also begin to manufacture retail boxes for shipment around the world. We will continue to work with our enterprise customers as well, as we ensure availability of the volume license tools and products.

Remember, if you buy a new PC running Windows 7 today, with the great support from our PC partners, you will be ready for Windows 8.

Delivering the highest quality Windows 8 is the most important criteria for us at this point—quality in every dimension.  The RTM process is designed to be deliberate and maintain the overall engineering integrity of the system.

Ultimately, our partners will determine when their PCs are available in market.  If the feedback and telemetry on Windows 8 and Windows RT match our expectations, then we will enter the final phases of the RTM process in about 2 months.  If we are successful in that, then we are tracking to our shared goal of having PCs with Windows 8 and Windows RT available for the holidays.

On behalf of the Windows team,

Steven Sinofsky


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Download IE9 RC

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 February 2011 11:04 Written by Mire_B Thursday, 10 February 2011 11:04

As promised, the Release Candidate of Internet Explorer 9 is available for download. Get the IE9 RC here.

The Release Candidate of Internet Explorer 9, available now at www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com in 40 languages, reflects our unique approach to building the best experience of the Web on Windows. IE9 also reflects a more open and transparent approach with its regular of cadence of platform previews for developers and enthusiasts. With the Release Candidate, we’ve taken to heart over 17,000 pieces of feedback about IE9. You will find the product has made progress on all fronts—performance and standards, user experience, and safety and privacy.

We want to thank the millions of people who have installed and used Internet Explorer 9 during pre-release testing. The value of your feedback in developing the product is hard to overstate. The rest of this post highlights some of the changes made as we listened and acted directly on this feedback.

Performance & Standards: The Web Platform for Developers

The IE9 RC is faster with real world sites. In addition to making the script engine faster, we’ve improved and tuned the rest of the browser as well. You’ll find that Gmail, Office Web Applications, and many other sites are faster as a result of scenario tuning, network cache tuning, and new compiler optimizations. You’ll also find that the RC of IE9 often uses megabytes less memory than the beta because of changes like delayed image decoding. We’ve also improved the performance of things many people do every day, like find on page, and made improvements which extend battery life. In these videos you can see the performance improvements in the RC for text, layout, HTML5 canvas and video, illustrated through new demos on the IE9 test drive site:

Click to play video

Click to play video

IE9 RC supports additional emerging Web standards including CSS3 2D Transforms, HTML5 Geolocation and a set of HTML5 semantic elements. We’ve added support for the HTML5 canvas global­Composite­Operation property and improved the performance of canvas’s Canvas­Pixel­Array. We’ve updated IE9 RC to reflect changes to the DOM events and added accessibility to the HTML5 audio and video controls. These additions reflect our pattern of implementing site ready HTML5 while ensuring developers can experiment with new and emerging specifications through our HTML5 Labs. As these specifications become stable, you can expect we will implement them in IE as we have throughout the development of IE9.

Implementing Web standards is just the start of our commitment to an interoperable Web and Same Markup. Comprehensive test suites developed through the standards bodies are crucial to making sure that browser vendors implement these standards consistently. With this Release Candidate we’ve added over a thousand new test cases for JavaScript and updated over fifty test cases based on community feedback. During IE9 development we have now submitted just under 4000 test cases in total for standards like HTML5. We have submitted these tests to the appropriate standards bodies for feedback and eventual inclusion in their official test suites. You can try them out for yourself at the IE Test Center.

IE9 RC Test Results

User Experience: Site-Centric Browsing, Improved

With the RC, we’ve acted on thousands of pieces of feedback about how to improve IE9’s clean, site-centric design. Our IE9 beta telemetry data shows that 97% of sessions had 5 or fewer tabs open. At the same time, we care deeply about the other 3%. Many of you weren’t shy about sharing your ideas for how the browser could accommodate more tabs. We listened and we took your suggestions to heart. With the RC, you can put tabs on their own row taking advantage of the maximum available space for all your tabs:

Screen shot showing twelve tabs on separate row

Why is this change so important? You said so:

Based on yourfeedback, we also made it much easier to refine search queries in the One Box. Based on your feedback, IE9’s download manager will now display the download speed, and download notifications are animated and more noticeable. Based on your feedback, pinned sites now support multiple home pages – “redefining awesome” according to this comment. With Paste & Navigate (Control-Shift-L), hardcore enthusiasts can save a step pasting into the address bar. We’ve reduced the number of pixels in the frame, and updated the visuals, making the active tab easier to identify, and made it easier to close inactive tabs. We acted on your feedback unless there was a clear pattern of inconsistency (for example, big back button is bad… no, it’s good). There’s a list at the end of this post of additional improvements, and we will detail them in future blog posts.

In hindsight, this comment from the original beta post was prescient:

  • Tabs on same line as address bar! If this is believed to be the better way of doing things by yourselves then fine, leave it as defaullt but at least give us the option to move it around!!
  • Download speed not shown in download dialog. ??? Not acceptable.
  • Somebody said something about paste and go…it is indeed a useful feature. Can’t be too hard to implement ;)

In this video you can see some of these changes that resulted from the feedback you provided:

Click to play video

In short, developers and enthusiasts gave us some great feedback on how we can make our site-centric design even better. We listened, we acted, and we want to thank you for your contribution.

Safety and Privacy: Trustworthy Browsing

On today’s Web, consumers are increasingly wary, often out of necessity. They face security risks like malicious sites and phishing scams. Even on sites consumers know and trust, bad things often happen. It’s easy to almost follow a bad link from a friend on Facebook, or become a victim of malvertising when a malicious advertisement appears on an otherwise trustworthy site.

Based on your feedback, we’ve made it easy to “turn off ActiveX” for all sites and then re-enable it, site by site, as you see fit. You can try IE9’s ActiveX Filter at the IETestDrive site here.

IE9 now includes Tracking Protection because consumers have become increasingly concerned about privacy. IE9 enables consumers to express their preference for privacy, and also gives consumers a mechanism to enforce specific aspects of that preference. Consumers can do this by choosing Tracking Protection Lists from organizations they trust. These lists can block and allow third-party content in order to control what information consumers share with sites as they browse the Web. By controlling the flow of information to sites, these Tracking Protection Lists help users protect their privacy. Unlike other solutions, IE9’s benefits users even if Web sites do not respect the user’s preference to not be tracked. The ability for a site to determine that the user has expressed a desire to not be tracked (by turning the feature on) is inherent in the design of Tracking Protection.

Today the first set of Tracking Protection Lists created by trusted organizations are now available on the Web. Adding a tracking protection list in the IE9 RC is as simple as clicking a link on a Web page. At this early stage we have linked to these Tracking Protection lists on the IE Test Drive site so consumers can find and try them and immediately enjoy a level of choice and control with respect to their online privacy that didn’t exist before today.

What’s Ahead

The Web is beautiful and powerful because of the developers and designers who build it. Enabling them to build rich and immersive sites that feel like native applications on your Windows 7 PC is at the heart of our approach with IE9. Here’s a video of how several influential members of this important community are talking about IE9:

The development process of IE9 has focused on building the best experience of the Web on Windows. Our approach to building a faster Web-browsing platform involves harnessing more of the PC’s hardware for Web pages. Our approach to Web standards and interoperability involves real-world developer scenarios and modern software engineering practices like comprehensive test suites. Our approach to designing a clean, site-centric Web browsing experience involves using everything available around the browser that people use regularly, so people can now pin sites to the Windows taskbar and Web sites can program taskbar jump lists. Our approach to building a safer, more trustworthy browser involves effective consumer protections from real-world risks, like programs they download or sites that might unexpectedly track them. All of these things taken together has resulted in the fastest adopted beta in IE history, with over 25 million downloads to date.

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to listen closely and carefully to feedback from the worldwide community about the Release Candidate. We appreciate the work that developers and IT professionals will do to test their sites and prepare for the final release that will come shortly. We will automatically update IE9 beta users to the IE9 RC. After the final release, we will automatically update IE9 RC users to the final build.

On behalf of the individuals and companies who have worked so hard with us to deliver this Release Candidate, and the many people at Microsoft who have built it, thank you for visiting www.BeautyOfTheWeb.com and trying IE9.

—Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer


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Download IE9 RC Tomorrow, February 10, 2011

Last Updated on Wednesday, 9 February 2011 10:35 Written by Mire_B Wednesday, 9 February 2011 10:35

One great piece of news after another. I’m getting ready to download IE9 RC tomorrow… as should you…


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