We all know and are very excited that the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 is available (as of February 29, 2012) for download from http://preview.windows.com. It’s brilliant.
There are 2 options:
- Download the web installer – this is intended for updating your current operating system. It can clear your system back to metal or preserve your current documents and settings. Pretty nice.
- Download the ISO – this is intended for you to create a bootable USB or DVD from which to install Windows 8 on a real or virtual machine. Note: the Windows 8 team wants you to experience Windows on a non-virtual machine. But, do what you can.
What is an ISO?
ISO means (International Organization for Standardization). It is an archive of an optical (DVD) disk in a single file. It makes distribution very handy. An ISO is not a compressed archive.
How to use an ISO
In Windows 7, I use Slysoft’s Virtual Clone Drive. It works seamlessly and it’s free. Windows 8 will handle an ISO natively (mounting it like a drive). Hooray, at last!
How to create bootable USB?
Windows 8 requires a minimum 4GB USB drive. First, download the ISO. Then, download the Windows 7 Bootable USB tool here. Its simple interface will ask for the ISO, then for the USB drive, and handle the rest for you from there. Yes, it’s that easy.