Many analysts, including yours truly, were somewhat surprised to see how few changes were made between Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 8 Release Preview. Normally, at this point in the process, you'd get a "Release Candidate" which would be, as the name implies, feature-identical to the final product, barring any major revelations during testing.

This time, thanks to Microsoft's blog, we know about upcoming features in the final release. This includes a new flattened design for the "desktop" interface in Windows 8, which serves as the replacement for running legacy Windows 7 apps, as opposed to the tablet-friendly, newfangled Metro-style apps, with their tiles and simple, touchable design. Despite the lack of many new, marquee features in Release Preview, Microsoft claims that hundreds of visible changes and tens of thousands of internal coding changes have been introduced.

The company has also informed us that there will be "getting started" pointers in the final release, to help familiarize users with how to use the new OS interface. The Release Preview includes nothing of this kind. But Microsoft reports that millions of users have downloaded Windows 8 preview versions and have been using it on a daily basis and that Redmond will use the boatloads of gathered remote usage data to craft this help effectively.

Windows head honcho Steven Sinofsky has nevertheless clearly stated on the Building Windows 8 blog that Release Preview is the last test version before final release. He also stated that the final version should be ready in a mere two months! In the meantime, let's see what's new in this final pre-release version.
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Top 6 New Features of Windows 8 Release Preview | News & Opinion |