Microsoft Corp. this week released the Window 8 Consumer Preview to allow customers to test out the upcoming operating system release.

The Consumer Preview includes touch and keyboard / mouse functionality. The Metro UI, a tile-based interface similar to Windows Phone, includes live updates, apps functionality and the ability to interface with a traditional Windows desktop.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Touch features include the ability to swipe, touch left and right panes for app options, and touch top and bottom panes for in-app options.

Logins can now be synced with a Windows ID to allow users to access their custom settings on any Windows 8 device.

In addition, the Consumer Preview includes SkyDrive to connect social network information and files from the cloud drive service.

Windows 8 will be released in 2012 for desktops, notebooks, and tablets.

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