MWC 2012: Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 8 Server Launch

Wednesday will be a huge day of announcements at MWC 2012. And at 3 p.m. Barca time, Microsoft will unveil its Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Here’s what we expect to see. What we didn’t expect is a sneak unveiling of Windows 8 Server, with beefed up features to help tech pros manage security, updating and encryption on personal devices and services.

Update: Windows 8 Server, though not announced at MWC 2012 in Barcelona, is out and it’s real. Ars Tecnica has a terrific tour through the software. Check it out. Here’s a shot of the admin page you see on start.

Update: If you missed the coverage, we have a ton of it here. So do our partner sites and

Here’s my story about hanging with Bill Gates and his mother in NYC’s Twin Towers in 1989 at the Windows 3.0 launch. His mom told me, “Gina, this is the best day of Bill Gates life.”

– Here’s Ant Pruitt’s analysis of the features announced on the PDF for Windows 8 Consumer Preview for Business. Priceless.

Here’s the live blog we did of the event.

Check out our site and hit the Microsoft drop down. You’ll see all our MS commentary there.

February 29, 2012. Wednesday was going to be huge day for partners Nokia and Microsoft at the Mobile World Congress 2012 show in Barcelona. At 9 a.m. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will take the stage, priming the pump with demos of its new unified mapping with Microsoft and its Puria smartphone.

Then at 3 p.m. Microsoft execs prepare to unveil the beta version of Windows 8 — Windows 8 Consumer Preview — that will have SkyDrive and Live Mesh built-in. But the announcement was largely a rehash — with little mention of SkyDrive. Microsoft did announce improved protection of company data with Active Directory and a variety of security specs, plus the ability to remote block and wipe, were compelling. This is the first Windows design that appealed to me. The tiles are cool.

UPDATE: There were few surprises. Despite the fact that Microsoft posted a doc a few hours before the announcement about a product it called Windows 8 Consumer Preview for Business version 1, there was precious little on that. For more on what we discovered about Windows, here’s our Ant Pruitt’s excellent piece on what the enterprise features slated for a product it variably calls Windows 8 Server – and their value for IT and users alike. That’s a tremendous piece.

Microsoft officials have confirmed many of the features — it showed off much of its Windows 8 in recent weeks and months. Its alpha –Windows 8 Developer Preview — has been available to anyone who wants it since September 2011. But features like the Skydrive and Mesh integration we expect Ballmer to announce are the real attention getters.

UPDATE: Microsoft’s chief Steve Sinofsky spoke little of this or the other enterprise features aimed at helping IT pros secure outside devices via Active Directory and other tools. gathered the links it found quietly sitting at Microsoft’s site — from the consumer preview 32-bit and 64-bit ISO versions, to some serious downloads for the enterprise. A little investigation revealed Microsoft Windows 8 Windows Server, quietly unveiled.

After you download it, check out Groovy’s tutorial on how to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview. It’ll help if you have any problems. Also be sure to check out all our Windows 8 coverage for more tips and tricks.

Other Related Windows 8 Downloads

Microsoft says: Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview enables IT administrators to manage roles and features they have installed on computers that are running Windows Server “8″ Beta from a remote computer that is running Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Mystery solved. Just call me Columbo.

We lived blogged the event here at Check it out in all its stream-of-consciousness glory here.

Follow @anewdomain and @ginasmith888 for moment-to-moment details if you’re interested in hearing more about what is going on.

Microsoft has been uncharacteristically open about this upcoming release of Microsoft Windows. In a blog post, Microsoft group program managers Mike Torres and Omar Shahine wrote about its plans for SkyDrive and Mesh:

Many folks reading this blog are active users of SkyDrive and Mesh, both part of the broad set of Windows Live services (like Hotmail), and the Windows Live Essentials programs (Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, and more). With their introduction and with Windows 7, we have talked about how these services really complete the Windows experience. As we developed Windows 8, we thought deeply about how these services can take an even more active role in completing the experience—offering a cloud service for each and every Windows 8 customer and all their PCs (and phones), should you choose to use it. In previous posts … we kicked off talking about cloud services, how you can automatically roam your settings to multiple PCs, and how applications can take advantage of this roaming. In this post, we will show you three cool things that you will get by choosing to sign up and use SkyDrive with Windows 8.

Here’s a video that gets into more detail.

SkyDrive isn’t new. It’s been a desktop app ever since Vista came out years ago. And like Apple iCloud, it’s available as a cloud storage app — already available for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. A Mac client will arrive soon.

The site posted a list of details it expects:

•Windows 8 will “finally bring the DNA of SkyDrive and Mesh together into one service”

•SkyDrive app for Windows 8

•SkyDrive available to other Metro style apps and the file system through charms and contracts

•Integrated into the Windows 8 Windows Explorer on the desktop

•Full file and folder upload and sync – “no compromises”

•Metro app built using JavaScript, CSS, HTML5, and the JSON APIs and JavaScript object model in

•Metro app optimized for touch

•Ability to save directly from Windows 8 to SkyDrive
•SkyDrive Desktop app available for Windows 8, Windows 7, or Vista
•Installer less than 5mb, takes 10 seconds to install (not sure if this applies to Win7 or Vista)
•Support for uploading up to 2GB files through Explorer
•Remote access will have a “copy to SkyDrive” feature
•Remote streaming of video full screen photo viewer
•2nd factor authentication (mobile number or alt. email address) required for remote access

Our partner,, did a first look at the SkyDrive iOS app in December.


  • As amazing as my experience with the Developer Preview has been (I’ve been running it since the first week it came out with zero crashes!) I am very excited to see what happens here.

  • Zero crashes? Really? I am hearing from multiple sources now that Sinofsky is about to be crowned incoming CEO at Microsoft. At any rate, today is the big day for the Windows chief. All eyes on Barcelona. You think it’ll happen today? Sinofsky, 46, hails from Florida via NY … like me. Odds, anyone?

  • i from a small country ie Bhutan and i have used windos 8 and found nice to work with it
    my emailadress :ramay.shore@yahoo:disqus .com