Microsoft updates the public Windows 8 countdown calendar

Microsoft updates the public Windows 8 countdown calendar

Summary: The next public Windows 8 test build is due the first week of June., just in time for Computex 2012.


Microsoft will release the Windows 8 Release Preview -- the last of the public test builds of the operating system before it is released to manufacturing -- the first week of June.

Microsoft Windows chief Steven Sinofsky made the announcement at a Windows developer event in Tokyo on April 24.

Microsoft officials have said previously that the company is not necessarily sticking to the same timeline it followed with Windows 7, but it's hard not to compare. Here's what that looked like: Windows 7 beta released: January 2009 Windows 7 Release Candidate released: May 2009 Windows 7 RTM: July 2009 Windows 7 launch: October 2009

Windows 8 beta (Consumer Preview) released: February 2012 Windows 8 Release Candidate (Release Preview) released: June 2012 Windows 8 RTM: Late July/August 2012 (?) Windows 8 launch: October 2012 (?)

Update: In case there was any lingering doubt that Windows Server 2012 (a k a Windows Server 8) is on the same schedule, Microsoft officials noted today that the Release Candidate of Server also is due in early June 2012.

The last two dates are guesses, obviously, as Microsoft officials have not shared them publicly. August is typically a month when the Microsoft campus is quiet and empty, so maybe RTM will happen at the very end of July. Again, just guessing here.

The first week of June, when the Release Preview is slated to arrive, lines up nicely with the Computex conference in Tapei. The dates for that are June 5 through 9. Last year, Microsoft used Computex to show off the latest Windows 7 test build (which was pre-Developer Preview, at that point).

I am hearing from my sources that the next Build conference, or whatever Microsoft ends up calling its Windows 8 developer conference this year, is increasingly sounding like an October event.

Some company watchers also are expecting Microsoft to sync up the Windows Phone 8 launch with the Windows 8 launch this fall -- possibly October -- if earlier  rumors are correct.

Bottom line: Windows 8 is in its final development stages. It should be available, as many have been predicting for more than a year, by this fall on new x86/x64 and ARM-based tablets and PCs.

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • One more month!

    Woo-hoo! Bring on the RC!
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Another day, another shill

    • Still yawning

  • Bad idea

    This is a big mistake for Microsoft. Their first O.S. not designed for business, then adapted for home and personal use. In fact this is their first O.S. that is totally irrelevant to businesses, schools and the public sector. In one year from now, MS will announce a new version of Windows, Windows 7 SE (second edition) that will include most of the technologies available on Windows 8 but without the absurd ???please use your finger instead of your mouse??? Metro interface. The start button is for 99% of windows users where to look for everything they are looking for. They could have made the Start Button something a whole lot more interesting with metro style apps. But they have decided that what renewed interest in Windows when they have released win 7 makes no sense anymore. I am a fan of MS. But this is a bad idea. Windows 8 should have been a completely different product call Windows Mobi 1. Sell you MS stocks.
    • I've said this before...

      Windows 8 requires fresh thinking. You can't sit down with it expecting it work the same as Windows 7. Habits need to be broken.
      I can understand why many would be reculctant to do that, but many here are in the IT field, and change is an everday part of their jobs.

      There are many, many benefits Windows 8 can provide companies, schools, and the general public, yes, even on the Metro side. Hop on over to Neowin this morning, and you'll find a nice Imagine Cup article detailing a Metro app designed to help fight SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrom). An app like that would be useful on any device, including desktops. You won't be finding a point and click app like that in use anywhere.

      Change is inevitable, you can't expect to be using the Start Button forever, and even if it was included as an option in Windows 8, I could bet cubits it would be gone completely in Windows 9, and we'd be back here having this same conversation. Honestly, if you ask me, it should have been gone in Windows 7, but that's just me.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • This thinking at MS is why MS is slowly getting worse

        Telling users they have to change because Big Brother at MS says so is a recipe for disaster. The Metro interface is fine for touch-enabled devices, but most windows platforms are not (yet) touch enabled. The Metro interface is useless for someone at a desk trying to get work done. MS should lead with changes that derive from what the "middle of the bell curve" want, not what geeks in their Mom's basement want. The Metro interface needs to be optional on non-touch machines, and the "classic" Windows 7 interface needs to be fully featured as it is in Windows 7. MS needs - now - to be very clear on the roadmap for organizations that have invested $$$$ over the years with .NET applications, and very clear on how, and just how long, legacy VB6 apps will be supported so organizations can budget in the outyears for conversion of their VB6 apps.

        Most of MS's users are not IT people. MS, and IT, exist to server the non-IT customer base. When we forget that, our usefulness becomes limited.
      • You've confused the issue.

        By bringing the SIDS app into this, you've injected a side issue to this discussion.

        As someone who runs a medium sized business, I've already reverted to Win7 because of the Metro Interface. My people want their desktops, for easy access to files they park there, and applications. The Metro app system fills their screens with lots of noise that simply isn't relevant to getting their work done.

        And to address that SIDS app directly: Yes, it's great. But it's useful for what -- .0005% of the install base? Putting the SIDS app aside: How many users have anything they need to monitor like this -- who aren't already using some kind of dedicated monitoring software?

        Again, I'll go back to the mass install base, who use their computers for spreadsheets, email, word processing, etc. The Metro interface actually puts yet another GUI between them and their work -- and, from an IT perspective, give us one more thing we have to disable. (Facebook? We've disabled it for our company as a security risk, and it's against company policy to use Facebook on our machines.)

        So, sorry, but you've got it all backwards. Apps are great on iPhones. But they don't reflect - or enhance - the desktop/notebook work environment.
      • Agreed. Thinking a little about the Windows 8 paradigm ...

        ... the Metro interface is really a "Start Screen" instead of the more familiar "Start Menu". On a tablet form-factor, the main screen HAS TO BE a start screen. Since the tablet platform is basically a one-app-at-a-time platform (mostly out of necessity - thanks to the small screen), it only makes sense.

        In the Windows 7 paradigm, you can leave applications in the Start Menu or you can (1) "unpin" them form the Start Menu, (2) "pin" them to the Task Bar, and/or "pin" them to the desktop.

        It is no different with Windows 8. You can customize the Metro "Start Screen" just as easily as you ever customized the "Start Menu" the "Task Bar" or the "Desktop".

        In the end, not a whole lot has really changed, except that, if one wants to use Metro apps, one has to learn how to use them.
        M Wagner
      • RE: Confused the issue...

        The desktop is already filled. It's filled with icons pretending to be part of a start screen. It's filled with lost files that will not join the rest in one of the libraries. And the desktop hides EVERYTHING else inside a tiny button in one corner of the screen. That's the opposite of functionality. App-tiles, File-shortcut-tiles, and live-tiles on a floating overlay is easier to get to than something crammed into one corner of some desktop. The Metro UI works like an actual desktop. An organized one at that.
      • Habits need to be broken?????

        You say "habits need to be broken," to which I ask, "Why?" Seems to me, if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

        And you say, " can't expect to be keeping the Start Button forever." Again, why not? It works. Millions are used to it. It allows me to look at ALL the software on my computer. i don't have to remember the exact name of a program to find it, as you do with the search function in Metro.

        So get off this idea that because something is new, it is better. Ain't always so.

        By the way, I began programming computers back in 1961. I've learned so many OS's and languages that I forget the count. I don't mind something new and different -- if there is a good reason for it. Metro on a desktop is NOT a good reason.
      • Change

        While "Change is inevitable," usability, efficiency and acceptance are not inevitable.
        Windows 8 has not shown me one thing that will improve my productivity.
      • I don't think so...

        @mwagner Can I really customize the Start Screen as much as I have ever customized the Start Menu? I've tried... how do I put my Start Screen apps into a logical hierarchy of applications, just as I have in my Start Menu? The start screen doesn't seem to support directories/folders. Even Android and iOS allow some form of this, but apparently isn't not something Microsoft's new crop of never-designed-a-UI-before software folks seems to have even considered.

        My Start Menu is customized so I can find applications by nested categories in seconds, even if I don't recall the name of the program. This is critical because I use hundreds of programs in several different disciplines (HW development, SW development, Video, Photography, music, audio, etc). I have Win8 right here in a VM, and while I can certainly move tiles around on the Start Screen, there's nothing even remotely close to the level of customization I can get trivially in the Windows 7 Start Menu. Maybe it's hidden somewhere in the guts of the OS, but it's not readily available to the user.
      • If you are forced to change..

        I have said it number of times. If Microsoft force users to change their habits, those users might well chose anything but Windows.

        For example, if they like the desktop paradigm and Microsoft forces them into Metro, they can switch to a Macintosh (OS X) or some desktop UNIX variant and have an almost identical desktop experience that they used to have with Windows. Why would the desktop user care how the OS that runs their computer is called? Or who it comes from? Why should users care, at all if their computers run Microsoft software or not? They don't.

        Of course, change is avoidable. There are many ways and never one true way.
    • People adapt

      If no-one is able to use a computer without a Start menu, then how do people cope with their iPhones or iPads, or Android phones?
      I don't think the Start Screen is perfect, but neither was the old Start button. I do think the Start Screen has a lot more potential.
      At the moment I think I am quicker on Win8 vs Win7. I definitely enjoy Win8 more. These are the things that matter the most to me.
      • Phones and Tablets are not apples to apples

        You obviously no nothing about the corporate world. People for the most part do not adapt to start with phones and tablets are primary marketed to the consumer. The corporate penetration with these devices is due C level suits or high level managers that got a new idevice or android device and thought it was a good idea to make use of it in there workplace. And lets not forget the BYOD security nightmare for IT. From the budgeting standpoint.

        1. Cost of migration from Win Xp (yes in the corp world) Win7 to Win 8
        2. Thanks to metro large staff training costs
        3. Increased costs to IT help desk and other IT personnel.

        So your people adapt consumer mind. Does nothing but drive up my budget and create a big pain in my *ss.
      • Someone who "no" something

        about the corporate world would probably use "know". I'm just saying...

        And you seriously overhype training requirements as this is how a major interface will play out, especially since most corporate/enterprise environments skip an OS release anyway.

        1. Windows 8 will be largely a consumer and SMB release.
        2. Users will get Windows 8 with new PCs and tablets.
        3. Users will get used to the new interface
        4. In 2015 Windows 9 will ship
        5. In 2016 enterprise/corporate will begin rollout of Windows 9 as the burden of training will no longer fall on their IT staff with the exception of some minor cases.
        6. Profit?
      • Learning curve is not a big deal, just treat start screen as start menu !

        Lot of folks are just creating a scene, with no real issue in place. Just take a look at your current start menu and then compare it with the new start screen much touch+keyboard+mouse navigable with its grouping, fast zoom and dynamic tiles .. It is actually better and more productive in all sense !

        And those who will use predominantly desktop interface, during work or otherwise still have their trusty task bar to pin applications.

        Lastly, if you see the number of clicks required to open frequently used applications.. the new interface is not adding anything, but options !
      • You Are Right!

        When I read some of the comment here, I wonder how some people can be in charge of anything--must less IT???? People, no matter where they reside, are not so frugal until they can't adapt to several, different situation--many at the same time. Yet, these people try and convince us that, even though windows have been around for 20 years and people have being using computers at least that long, people now are incapable of using a computer anymore because of a dat burn start screen???? Someone please figure this out; I'm getting a headache!!
      • @MLHACK

        Not much experience of the corporate world - 11 years as an employee, and 13 as a contractor. Mostly for large multi-national companies. So I've seen people change from DEC VAX and AS400 to DOS, then Windows 3, 3.1, NT3.5, NT4, Win2K and XP. And every time it was the same:
        "I don't want to change"
        "I can't do what I used to do"
        "Oh - that???s how you do it"
        and then 6 months later
        "I had to use one of the old machines. It was so old fashioned. I couldn't do anything"
        People cope. Yes they need some training. Yes there will be problems. But they cope.

        The problem is not retraining - certainly not for Windows. How much do people actually use Windows (as opposed to the applications). To log on. To start their applications. To look for files. The hardest thing most people will do is add a printer, or set their apps to autostart, and even then they will call the helpdesk. A major upgrade to their core application typically involves far more retraining.

        The corporation I currently work for has just under 200,000 employees. The area I work in still uses XP, and I've not heard any plans to upgrade. Some other groups have upgraded. The reluctance to upgrade (to Win 7) is down to testing all the existing systems in a new environment.

        Even if Win8 was just a straight desktop-only upgrade of Win7 (i.e. without Metro), I still wouldn't be using it commercially for years. The quickest I've ever seen a new version of Windows rolled out was 18 months after release.

        What will happen is once those 18 months are up, jobs will be advertised expecting a minimum 18 months of Metro development experience.
      • Re: People Adapt

        You asked: "If no-one is able to use a computer without a Start menu, then how do people cope with their iPhones or iPads, or Android phones?" You answered your own question.

        A phone is a phone, which is a poor excuse of a ALMOST computer, and a computer is a computer and almost like the the old adage "THEY SHOULD NEVER MEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

        If I wanted a BIG A$$ phone on my desktop, I'd buy the biggest stinking phone and do just that.

        I'm no techno geek and "I WANT MY COMPUTER TO BE A COMPUTER NOT A PHONE." Two screen maximum get real!