Windows 8 doesn’t come out until this October, but you can get a free copy, called “Windows 8 Release Preview” atWindows.com. When you get there, click the box that says “Next Chapter.” We decided to give it a spin. What a mistake.
Our Windows 7 computer sputtered and restarted at least five times as it tried to download Windows 8, with error messages every time. Windows 8 finally came up for a few seconds and then crashed, bringing down not only itself, but our whole previous system. After some effort, we were able to bring our old system back to life.
If you want to try Windows 8 Release Preview on your machine, be sure you have a backup of your entire system. In the few seconds we saw Windows 8 before it crashed, we saw the new “Metro” style interface: huge colored squares labeled things like “Travel” and “Video.”
Upgrading to Windows 8 Pro from a previous version of Windows won’t cost a lot, as it did in past years. When available in October, it will be $40 from Windows.com, or $70 as a physical disc. If you buy a Windows 7 machine through Windows.com, you can get Windows 8 Pro for $15.