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Although we’re closing in on the end of Q2 already this year, there’s still plenty for us tech enthusiasts to look forward to. Microsoft’s release of the Windows 8 operating system is one of them, and according to a number of reports, the Release Preview (formerly referred to as the Release Candidate), has been built, which means the end-user release of Windows 8 is now in sight.

The Release Preview is not the final version, but it will paint a pretty vivid picture of what consumers can expect when the OEM iteration is complete. Considered the home straight prior to the proper release, Neowin reports that the Windows 8 Release Preview has now been assembled, attached with the build number of 8400.

Win8CP

Accompanying the unconfirmed rumors is a screenie of the Start Menu – one of the most modified features of the entire ecosystem. Up until this point, the Start Menu has remained fairly constant through the Windows versions, but given the brand-new, heavily-lauded Metro UI, it is one of the most noticeable revamps.

There has been much attention focusing around the altered SKUs of Windows 8, and the report also mentions the versions as including Windows 8 (Core), Windows 8 Release Preview (Pro), Windows 8 Release Preview with Media Center (ProWMC) and Windows 8 Enterprise (VL).

The Redmond-based company has already confirmed the Release Preview as dropping early next month, although a more pinpoint ETA has yet to be announced. With Computex, and, of course, E3 falling around the same time, both events provide the perfect platform for the software maker to reveal more juicy details of its prized outlet. E3 would probably be the favored venue, but in truth, details could emerge from either, or indeed both.

Windows 8 developer days release preview

The Consumer Preview, which released in February, received rave reviews from most who encountered it, and although it’s probably the most-changed release in history, it’s also arguably the most eagerly-awaited.

Some have said Metro is better suited to tablets, and I would be inclined to agree, but having used it for a few months on a laptop, I’d have to say it works rather nicely. As has been discussed on many occasions, the success of Windows 8 ultimately boils down to whether the general user will find their feet quickly with the Metro interface.

Will that happen? Only time will tell.

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