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Where do I get a product key?
If you install Windows 8 Consumer Preview using the Web-based setup program, you won't need to enter a product key—the setup program automatically provides the product key.
If you download an ISO and make your own installation media, you will need to supply a product key. The ISO download page includes this public key:
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview FAQ has a different key:
You’ll need to type this code in when prompted.
What about installing Windows in a virtual machine?
I don’t recommend testing Windows 8 in a virtual machine, You’ll get the best results if you run on physical hardware. VMs are most useful if you want to document the setup process or if you want to run an unfamiliar app in a sandbox.
Windows 8 will not run on Windows Virtual PC. It will run on most third-party virtualization platforms, although you should check with the developer of that software first for any needed patches or setup instructions.
Can I upgrade the Windows 8 Developer Preview to the Consumer Preview?
Yes. However, the upgrade will not migrate any installed programs or files.
Which Windows 7 touch hardware will work with Windows 8?
This Windows 8 blog post contains a list of hardware that the Windows development team has used widely, although they caution that the list is not an endorsement. The following text is taken directly from that post:
- HP Elitebook 2760p convertible (Note: This PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
- ASUS EP121 tablet (Note: this PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
- Dell Inspiron Duo convertible
- Lenovo x220t convertible
- 3M M2256PW 22” display (Note: The raised bezel can make it harder to swipe along the edges)
- Samsung Series 7 slate (Note: This PC has two models, one was provided to attendees at //build/ and the other is a commercial release; the latter has slightly different peripherals and firmware.)
Where do I get support?
For general questions: Windows 8 Consumer Preview forum.
For IE issues: Internet Explorer 10 Consumer Preview forum.
For questions and issues related to business features: IT pro forums.
Can I uninstall Windows 8 Consumer Preview?
No, if you want to restore your previous operating system, you need to do so from the original installation disks or from a backup you made before the upgrade.
You made that backup, right?
How do I turn off the Metro style Start screen and use the classic Start menu?
You can’t. Although there was a registry hack that worked in the Developer Preview, it is not available in this release. My colleague Mary Jo Foley wrote about a promising Group Policy setting (available via the Local Group Policy Editor, Gpedit.msc). Unfortunately, this option is intended for use with the Windows Server 8 Beta only. In my limited testing so far, it doesn’t work with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Even if it did work as described, the effect would simply be to skip the Start screen and go directly to the Windows desktop at startup—you can do that yourself with a single click. This Group Policy setting doesn’t change the behavior of the Start screen in any other way.
Does the Consumer Preview have an expiration date?
Yes. This release will stop working on January 15, 2013. That should be long after both the release to manufacturing and General Availability dates.
How do I customize the Windows 8 Start screen?
I’ll have step-by-step instructions to help you with the most common tasks in a follow-up post.