Microsoft has released the Windows 8 RTM release on MSDN and Technet a few hours ago from where it can be downloaded by active subscribers. Some users have reported issues with their downloads, but that is surely getting sorted out in the coming days.
If you are not a subscriber but dying to get your hands on an evaluation version of Windows 8, you can head over to the MSDN Evaluation Center where Windows 8 Enterprise is offered as a 90-day trial version.
32-bit and 64-bit downloads are available in the following interface languages: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, English (UK), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish. The evaluation version can only be downloaded after you register (you need a Microsoft Account and need to supply information). Microsoft notes that it is also necessary to activate the product online with Microsoft-hosted activation and validation services within 10 days, and that no technical support is provided for the product.
Failure to activate will change the desktop background to a black solid color, display a persistent notification on the desktop, and shut down the PC every hour until the system is activated. The Windows 8 Enterprise Trial is available for a year until August 15, 2013 after which it may be replaced with a new trial version.
The Enterprise trial is a test version that will expire after 90 days, and that can't be upgraded or extended. It is furthermore not possible to downgrade to a previous version of Windows directly. What you need to do is do a clean install from a Windows DVD or downloaded version of the operating system.
The best way to go forward is to either install the operating system in a virtual environment that you can simply shut down or delete after the trial expires, or install it on a PC with no prior operating system. If you need to install it over your current operating system, I'd suggest you create a backup of it first to roll back once you are finished with your tests.
The download link above points to the US English version of the trial. Different languages become available when you change the en-US code in the url to code of another supported language.
If you want to test drive Windows 8 for whatever purpose, this is your best and only option to do so right now (unless you have access to downloads for subscribers).
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.