Possible Windows 8 SKUs Found In Consumer Preview Registry

While sniffing around the registry in Windows 8, the guys at Windows 8 Beta seem to have stumbled upon what appear to be references to Windows 8 SKUs. Here’s the list of every SKU — a total of nine — that was in the registry file:

  • Windows 8 Enterprise Edition
  • Windows 8 Enterprise Eval edition
  • Windows 8 Home Basic Edition
  • Windows 8 Home Premium edition
  • Windows 8 ARM edition
  • Windows 8 Professional edition
  • Windows 8 Professional Plus edition
  • Windows 8 Starter edition
  • Windows 8 Ultimate edition

As you can see, compared to Windows 7, there are two additional SKUs that are mentioned: Windows 8 ARM edition (which we knew would exist), and, interestingly enough, a Professional Plus edition SKU. There are also what appear to be placeholder “pre-release” SKUs that are in the list, pictured above (though this entire list could possibly be inaccurate placeholder content).

Below is a screenshot that Windows 8 Beta took of this very registry file, but in Windows 7.
Should this list prove to be correct, I cannot think of any reasons as to why there needs to be a Professional Plus SKU; if anything, Microsoft should work towards simplifying their editions of Windows 8 instead of adding to their abundance. But again, it is also likely that this content is inaccurate. An obscure registry key in a pre-release version of Windows is hardly confirmation of anything, so this one should be taken with a grain of salt. If you have an additional grain of salt at hand, let me point out a similar list of alleged SKUs that recently cropped up that is likely also placeholder content.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Surpasses One Million Downloads In 24 Hours

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview has hit the 1 million download milestone in only a day since its release yesterday, according to this tweet from the @BuildWindows8 account a few hours ago: “One day later…one million downloads of the consumer preview”.

Now, we must keep in mind that this isn’t a unique count of people that have downloaded the build; if an individual downloaded the ISO several times, these downloads would also be factored into the count. Nevertheless, that’s still an impressive figure, and there’s likely still a good amount of people using the build as we speak.

The Windows 8 Developer Preview — released last September at BUILD — was downloaded 500,000 times in a day, so by this metric, we can say that the Consumer Preview build is experiencing twice the traction. How does the traction of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview compare to that of the Windows 7 Beta? Unfortunately, Microsoft never disclosed the download milestones of it. However, we do know that the Windows 7 beta download was initially restricted to 2.5 million downloads, which Microsoft quickly lifted.

There have been 100,000 changes made in the CP build since the Developer Preview in September, according to Sinofsky. We recently wrote a post that outlines a few of the major improvements in the build, such as system-wide spellcheck and Microsoft Account.

Bing Metro Apps Hit The Windows Store

The Bing Team have announced that they have released three apps to the Windows Store  — which has opened its doors to submissions from developers on top of yesterday’s release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview — are three apps that are powered by Bing: Finance, Weather, and Maps. All three of these apps are, of course, Metro apps, and thus display information in a very clean and minimal fashion.

Weather, for example, displays the current temperature, weather conditions, and a forecast of the coming days in the form of clean text that’s laid out against a beautiful background that’s relevant to the current weather.

The Finance app allows you to quickly glance at market prices. You can add individual stocks and market indices as live tiles, in which their current price is displayed. You can also quickly glance at a chart, and read relevant news to stay informed.

And finally, the Maps app uses, well, Bing Maps to display a map that you can interact, search, and retrieve driving directions with.

“We think these apps help showcase the endless new possibilities with Windows 8 and Bing”, writes Brian MacDonald, Corporate VP of the Bing Application Experiences Team. That they do.

The Gestures Supported In Windows 8 And Their Mouse Equivalent

Earlier today Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The touch friendly Metro interface for Windows 8 is not restricted to tablets. Microsoft has followed a dual-UI strategy for Windows 8 and replaced the traditional start menu with a Metro version start screen. Since one UI is meant for the traditional keyboard/mouse interaction and the other for finger interaction (no pun intended), Microsoft has shared a simple chart explaining the gestures supported in Windows 8 and what they do along with details about how to perform the same tasks using a mouse:

(Click image to enlarge.)

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Now Available For Download

Sneaking on over to Barcelona for the convenience of the mainstream tech press, Microsoft has finally released the much-anticipated Windows 8 Consumer Preview, during a special press event at the Hotel Miramar.

There are almost as many changes in this build (from the Developer Preview) as there are mentions of Windows 8 being a “no-compromise” and “re-imagined” OS; over 100,000, according to Sinofsky. That being said, we put together a brief overview of the primary changes in the build (such as system-wide spellcheck, the start preview thumbnail, new notifications, boot forward, and Microsoft Account.)

Released in both x64 and x86 flavors, the build is available in English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, and Japanese. Optimized to work well with the same hardware that powers today’s Windows 7 devices, here are the system requirements:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device or higher
  • To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch
  • To access Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768
Head on over to the Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview website to snag the build.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Has Universal Spellcheck, Microsoft Account ‘Roaming’

So, while you wait for that Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO to download (you are downloading it, right?), here’s a brief and to-the-point rundown of the cool, more major improvements in the CP build.

Universal Spellcheck

Smug OS X users now have one less thing to taunt Windows users about; a feature that has been requested for a while now – universal, system-wide spellcheck – has finally been implemented in Windows.

Out With The Start Button, In With The Start Preview Thumbnail

One recent colossal change from a usability standpoint is the removal of the start button from the desktop (something that we have recently observed in leaked screenshots). While the functionality – though largely modified, in the form of the new Start Screen – remains, it’s still the removal of an iconic and well-known feature to users that has been there since Windows 95.

Nevertheless, while the actual start button is gone, they have essentially replaced it with something called a “start preview thumbnail” which can be accessed by hovering over the bottom-left corner beneath where the start button once occupied. Upon doing so, a small thumbnail will pop up that you can click to get to the start screen.

There will also be a menu that’s retrievable via right-click that will allow you to access a few important parts of Windows, such as Run,

Voosh! Flyout Notifications

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… wait, nope, it’s a Flyout notification! And it’s here to deliver a confirmation prompt, or some other notification that’s based off of your recent interaction with something. They can be dismissed via touch by tapping elsewhere, or by clicking on the “X”.

Boot Forward

So, since Windows 8 cold boots to the desktop so quickly, it’s near impossible to hit the F8 key in time to access boot options. There’s a new feature in the Consumer Preview called Boot Forward that will allow you to specify these boot options right before you reboot in Windows. 

Microsoft Account

Remember last week when Rafael Rivera discovered “Microsoft Your Account”, which is essentially a consolidated hotpot of various other billing portals of the company? It appears that this unified login service will play a big role in the OS. Imagine that you’re using a Metro app on your Windows 8 desktop, and you want to pick up where you left off when you take your WOA tablet to the toilet with you. Basically, thanks to Microsoft Account Metro app settings and states will roam between PCs.

You’ll also be able to utilize credential storage that roams across PCs as well, that will allow you to automatically log into websites using saved passwords.