Windows 8 is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablets, and home theater PCs. Development of this operating system started before the release of its predecessor in 2009. Its existence was first announced in January 2011 at Consumer Electronics Show. During its development and test phases, Microsoft released three pre-release versions: Developer Preview (September 13, 2011), Consumer Preview (February 29, 2012), and Release Preview (May 31, 2012). On August 1, 2012, Windows 8 graduated from the development stage and was released to manufacturing. Windows 8 is slated for general availability on October 26, 2012. Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the operating system's graphical user interface and platform, such as a new interface design incorporating a new design language used by other Microsoft products, a new Start screen to replace the Start menu used by previous versions of Windows, a new online store that can be used to obtain new applications, along with a new platform for apps that can provide what developers described as a "fast and fluid" experience with emphasis on touchscreen input. Additional security features were also added to the operating system, such as a built-in antivirus program and a secure boot feature on systems with UEFI firmware. Secure boot requires the operating system to be digitally signed to protect malware from infecting the boot process. The implementation of this feature has sparked controversy among supporters of free software. Windows 8 also introduces an edition of the operating system designed to run on devices that utilize the ARM architecture, known as Windows RT. Early Announcements:
Windows 8 development started before Windows 7 had shipped in 2009. In January 2011, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), that Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be adding support for ARM microprocessors in addition to the x86 microprocessors from Intel, AMD and VIA. On June 1, 2011, Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 8's new user interface as well as additional features at the Taipei Computex 2011 in Taiwan by Mike Angiulo and at the D9 conference in California (United States) by Julie Larson-Green and Microsoft's Windows President Steven Sinofsky. A month before the BUILD conference was held, Microsoft opened a new blog called "Building Windows 8" for users and developers on August 15, 2011. Developer Preview:
Microsoft unveiled new Windows 8 features and improvements on the first day of the BUILD conference on September 13, 2011. Microsoft also released the Windows Developer Preview (build 8102) of Windows 8 the same day, which included SDKs and developer tools (such as Visual Studio Express and Expression Blend) for developing applications for Windows 8's new interface According to Microsoft, there were more than 500,000 downloads of the developer preview within the first 12 hours of its release. The Developer Preview also introduced the Start screen. The Start button in the desktop opened the Start screen instead of the Start menu. On 16 February 2012, Microsoft postponed the expiration date of the developer preview. Originally set to expire on 11 March 2012, this release is now set to expire on 15 January 2013. Consumer Preview:
On 29 February 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the beta version of Windows 8, build 8250. For the first time since Windows 95, the Start button is no longer present on the taskbar, though the Start screen is still triggered by clicking the bottom-left corner of the screen and by clicking Start on the Charm bar. Windows president Steven Sinofsky said more than 100,000 changes had been made since the developer version went public. The day after...