Windows 8 RTM Now Available to TechNet and MSDN Subscribers

Microsoft today issued the "release to manufacturing" (RTM) version of Windows 8 to its TechNet and MSDN subscribers.

The RTM version is the completed Windows 8 product that IT pros and developers need to evaluate, although the product will ship on Microsoft's general availability date of October 26, when it will be available to the public. Microsoft's newest flagship operating system can be downloaded by subscribers to Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN professional services programs at those respective portal pages.

Windows 8 actually hit RTM status in August, although it's being released to Microsoft's customers at various dates. For instance, Microsoft's volume licensing customers will be able to download the Windows 8 RTM on August 16.

The Windows 8 downloads are for the x86 and x64 versions of Windows 8. The Windows RT version, also known as Windows 8 for ARM devices, isn't available for download, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

"Windows RT is only available pre-loaded on devices; there isn't a software-only version," the Microsoft spokesperson explained via e-mail. "So x86 and x64 are the versions of Windows 8 available for download for MSDN and TechNet subscribers."

Windows 8 testers who don't subscribe to those Microsoft services can get their hands on an evaluation edition that's good for 90 days. The evaluation edition of Windows 8 is available at this page.

Many developers likely have been building their applications using the earlier Windows 8 release candidate (RC) version. Microsoft claims in a blog post that the code built on the RC version will require "small changes (if any) to run on the Windows 8 RTM." The blog post points to a "migration guide" to help developers update their apps to the RTM release of Windows 8.

Also available for download by TechNet and MSDN subscribers are Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5. However, with this release of Visual Studio, Microsoft changed its policy of offering Visual Studio to MSDN subscribers first. Now, Visual Studio 2012 is available to all developers to download and try. For more details on Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5, see this Visual Studio Magazine story. Microsoft's Visual Studio 2012 release is a bit nuanced because some of the tooling, such as tools used to develop Windows Phone and Office apps, isn't yet included.

Those looking to download the RTM version of Windows Server 2012 will have to wait a bit. The RTM was released to Microsoft hardware manufacturing partners in August. However, what's available now for testing by the public is the release candidate version of Windows Server 2012, which is essentially Microsoft's last test version of the product.

"As for Windows Server 2012, RC remains the only download available on TechNet; it will likely be available to Volume licensing customers this week," the Microsoft spokesperson explained.

A free evaluation copy of the Windows Server 2012 RC is available for download at this page. Microsoft is planning a product launch event for Windows Server 2012 on September 4.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 ling wa amerika

I totally disagree! why do so many hate so much this gorgeous, top notch quality nicely performing softwares ! I see lots of complaints about bugs which will be ironed out it is still an amazing software. I guess being able to code I have an appreciation of what they have done with it as I'm sure others on here will too! Windows 8 , the newcomer, it's innovative, powerful, bold, beautiful, authentic,sleek & sexxxy, spectacular !!! its fast, its fluid and well ,everthing feels just plain quicker and snappier! dont let Modern UI fool you this workhorse is ready for anything you can trow at it. from Facebook to Twitter integration it does it all! no more endless searching the web for the right app. thrill to over 650+ great appz & awesome games in the amazing new appz store. with many more sure to follow! run for weeks on a singal battery charge. this is "the" Ipad killer, Apple is surely doomed!

Tue, Aug 21, 2012

I upgraded my tablet from the Consumer Preview to the basic Windows 8 32-bit (limited disk space on my tablet - this barely sqeezes on!). Mostly the same story. Email program is crap (e.g., no POP). Store shelves rather bare of apps. Desktop stripped of Aero no more responsive but now as flat and butt-ugly as the rest of Windows 8 Metro. The personalization of the Metro desktop is a very bad joke of mostly curly-cue themes from the '70s with an absoltuely pathetic color selection reminding me of the old CGA monitor days. The Metro UI looks a tad more polished but oddly gestures often lagged for no good reason which didn't happen with the 2 previews. Installing it was slow but smooth. Overall, I'll stick to my prediction Windows 8 disappoints in the marketplace. As pure tablet everything else leaves ugly, immature Metro in the dust. Only chance is scoring hybrid PCs that can double either as tablet or netbook like Surface Pro.

Wed, Aug 15, 2012

My thoughts exactly. Server 2012 is the only real story here. Even VS2012 isn't really ready since it doesn't have the tools for Windows Phone and Office yet. Come on, guys, give us the server downloads, please!

Wed, Aug 15, 2012

So, Microsoft has released for testing the application that no one cares about instead of the server version which all the technicians are waiting for. I can get it illegally but not through the legit options. Nice Microsoft

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