How to install Windows 8 Release Preview [Step-by-Step]

Installing Windows 8

Windows 8 Release Preview has been already made available for download, this new build comes seven months after the Developer Preview and five months after the Consumer preview, since then there has been many changes and tweaks that it seems that all the hard work from the Windows team paid-off. Windows 8 RP feels solid, loads faster, and it started to feel more like a finished product.

There are many ways in which you can install Windows 8 Release Preview, it would be if you test the new OS on a spare PC, this way you can experience all the features and effects at its full potential. However, not everyone have extra computers lying around, the second best way to install the operating system would be using virtualization; you can use VMware Workstation 8 or VirtualBox (free), both are great solutions to virtualize Windows 8. If you want to go this route you can check out this previous articles: How to Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a Virtual Machine [VMware Workstation] and How to Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VirtualBox [Virtual Machine]. Both guides can be use a reference to create a virtual machine for the Release Preview.

Additionally, you can opt to install the newest Microsoft’s OS build together with Windows 7 in a dual-boot mode, which is good solution if none of the options mentioned earlier work for you. To get the step-by-step instructions visit this previous article — How to Dual-boot Windows 8 with Windows 7 Using VHD – Virtual Hard Disk [Step-by-Step].

Finally — yes there is one more option — you can create a Windows To Go drive, which essentially allows you to install a full version of Windows 8 into a USB drive, which you can just simply boot from, without affecting or modifying anything in your computer. Best of all you can use it on any computer that supports boot from a USB drive. Do you want to know how to do this? Well, Pureinfotech got you covered: How to Create a Windows To Go USB Drive in Windows 8 [step-by-step].

Now that you know all the different methods you can use to install the operating system, it is up to you to choose the one method that suits your needs, and then just follow the step-by-step instructions below to install Windows 8 build 8400.

It is worth noting that the installation of the Release Preview hasn’t changed much since the launch of the Consumer Preview. You will notice that when you boot your PC, the setup kicks up pretty quick; the betta fish image is not longer part of the startup screen, now the word “Windows” is the only things that appears together loading ring animation. And other few cosmetic changes that you’ll see during the installation.

Instructions

1. Download a copy of Windows 8 and grab the product key — this time around you are going to need it –. Also make sure that you download the correct version (32-bit or 64-bit).

2. Make a bootable installation media, the simplest way to do this is by using the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool from Microsoft. If you like challenges, you can try creating a Windows 8 bootable USB drive manually using the command prompt (see instructions). Once you done with step #2, now we can actually dive in to the installation process.

3. Check that your system has the BIOS configured to boot from USB or DVD, depending on how you want to do the installation. To do this refer to your PC’s manufacture manual as there are many different ways to change the BIOS configuration.

4. Boot your computer with the Windows 8 bootable media, the new Windows splash screen will appear and it will take you right to the Windows Setup screen.

New Windows 8 splash screen

5. In the Windows Setup screen choose language, region and keyboard input, and click Next.

Windows 8 Setup

6. Click Install Now to proceed.

Windows 8 - Install Now screen

7. Enter the Windows product key: TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF, and click Next.

Windows 8 Product key

8. Accept the license terms and again click Next.

Windows 8 license terms

9. Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced), to do a clean installation of the OS.

Important: Avoid using the Upgrade option as this can cause some issues, and DON’T upgrade a Windows 7 installation, because you won’t be able to revert back.

Custom Install - Windows 8

10. Select the drive to install Windows 8 and click Next.

Note: It is assumed that if you are using a computer with a previous installation of Windows, you already make a backup all of the important files, as clicking Next in this step will erase all the data on that hard drive.

Drive install Windows 8

Now, Windows Setup will take over and the installation will start, this is going to take several minutes depending on your system configuration.

Windows Setup installing

12. After a couple restarts, you’ll be presented with the Personalize page. You’ll notice that this page has changed a little when compare to previous releases. Type a computer name and click Next.

Personalize - Windows 8

13. In the Settings page, you can choose how Windows 8 install updates, check online for solutions, personalize apps, etc. You can simply click Use express settings and let Windows select the best settings or you can click Customize and specify all your options. For this article I am just going to use the express settings.

Settings - Windows 8

14. Now you are in the Sign in to your PC page, here you can use your Microsoft account (Live or Hotmail account) to create an account in your PC. This is a great option if you are planning to download apps form the new Windows Store or sync settings online. For now you can click the Sign in without a Microsoft account.

Sign in to your PC - Windows 8

15. In the next screen click Local account.

Sign in to your PC - Microsoft and local account

16. Type an account name, enter a password and hint, then click Finish.

Local account - Windows 8

Windows 8 will then finish configuring your PC and you’ll be presented with the new desktop!

Windows 8 getting ready

Even though, it seems that there are too many steps, they are pretty simple and the total installation process should take less than an hour.

Start screen - Windows 8 Release Preview 

Windows 8 Release Preview desktop screenshot

Desktop Windows 8 Release Preview 1

Desktop screenshot 2

Desktop Windows 8 Release Preview 2

Next you should check for updates, missing drivers and install essential apps, but more on that later…

System requirements

Release Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 7:

Hardware ComponentMinimum System Requirement
Processor (CPU)1-GHz or faster, 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
Memory (RAM)1 GB RAM (32-bit)

2 GB RAM (64-bit), and to take advantage of the power of 64-bit

I will recommend you to have at least 4 GB of RAM
Graphics Processor (GPU)DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Hard Drive16 GB available of disk space (32-bit)

20 GB available of disk space (64-bit)
DisplayMinimum of 1024x768 to access the Windows Store and 1366x768 to use the Snap feature
  • To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch

That’s all, you just leaned how to install Windows 8 Release Preview. If you are having any difficulties with the installation process, let us know in the comments below. Enjoy!

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.