Microsoft is providing different ways to download & install Windows 8 Release Preview – all this for the users’ convenience. In this article we will see various installation methods Microsoft is providing to install Windows 8 Release Preview.
1. Installing Windows 8 RP using the Setup program
When you go to the download page, in the first method, you will be offered the Windows 8 RP setup, which when run will check your PC to see if it can run the Release Preview - and provide a compatibility report provided by the Upgrade Assistant. Make sure your devices are connected to your PC and turned on before you run the Setup program. This Setup package size is ~ 5MB .
Once the run is completed, it shows apps & devices compatibility report.
This also provides the Product Key. But if you install Windows 8 Release Preview using the Windows 8 Release Preview Setup program, you won’t need to enter a product key—the setup program automatically provides the product key. If you create installation media, start your PC from the media, and then install Windows 8 Release Preview, you’ll need to enter this product key: TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF.
The downloading will then start. Before downloading, the Setup will check to see if your PC can run Windows 8 Release Preview and then it will start downloading either the 32-bit (x86) or the 64-bit (x64) version, and will select the architecture that’s currently installed on your PC. The Setup program selects the optimized version of the download (up to 25% smaller).
If you prefer to choose a different architecture, you can opt for 2nd method of downloading an ISO image. We will see its details, later in the article.
On a side note, you might want to get an idea of download sizes of the packages when using Setup:
- 32-bit (x86) Windows 8 Release Preview: 1.6 GB
- 64-bit (x64) Windows 8 Release Preview: 1.9 GB
The built-in download manager lets you start, stop, and resume the download at any time
Once the download is completed, the Setup will ask if you would like to install now, install by creating media, or install later from your desktop.
You can choose how and when to install it. You can install on the current drive or you can make an ISO or bootable flash drive for installing Windows 8 Release Preview on another partition, virtual machine, or another PC (requires Windows Vista or Windows 7).
If you choose ‘Install by Creating media’ you can choose between ISO and USB.
The USB option will create a Bootable USB, where you’ll need to provide at least 4GB Flash Drive. The ISO option will save the ISO file to your hard disc which can be burnt into Bootable DVD by right clicking on it in Windows 7.
So, it depends on you which method you choose while using the method of Windows 8 Release Preview Setup program.
2. Installing Windows 8 Release Preview using the ISO image
This method is the conventional method. Windows 8 Release Preview ISO files (.iso) are provided as an alternative to using Windows 8 Release Preview Setup. An ISO image then must be converted into installation media stored on a DVD or a USB flash drive. You can download them from here.
Here are the Download size, Sha1 hash and Product Key for the ENG language ISO.
- 64-bit (x64) Download (3.3 GB)
Sha 1 hash — 0xD76AD96773615E8C504F63564AF749469CFCCD57
- 32-bit (x86) Download (2.5 GB)
Sha 1 hash — 0x8BED436F0959E7120A44BF7C29FF0AA962BDEFC9
Product Key for these ISOs: TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF
One of the important thing after you download such a large download, is that you should match the Sha1 hash. Many free software are available to check them, Here I have checked using Hashcalc. This is a must, before burning to a DVD as errors while downloading if any, will create problems during installation.
Once its ensured that the SHA1 hash matches, then one can just right click the ISO (in Windows 7 ) to burn them into a bootable DVD. Make sure you check ‘Verify disc after burning’. You can also use any 3rd part program to burn the DVD.
If you want to make it a USB bootable device then you’ll require Microsoft USB/DVD tool. Using this tool you can make any USB flash drive into bootable device. The minimum size of USB stick/drive should be at least 4GB.
Users having MSDN/TechNet subscriptions can also download these ISO images from there.
So with these tips, just go ahead and install Windows 8 Release Preview.
Note before you download: Windows 8 Release Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software.