Windows 8 RTM released through MSDN, 90 day evaluation version also available

Microsoft has released a fresh version of Windows 8 release to manufacturers (RTM) for MSDN subscribers. For those who are Windows 8 developers but not subscribers, Microsoft has also released a 90 day evaluation version of Windows 8.

Still slated for release on October 26th, this is the final version of Windows 8.

A few notes about the 90 day evaluation copy is that it can not be upgraded and, obviously, will expire. To upgrade, you'll need to uninstall the evaluation copy and a non-evaluation version of Windows 8 must be installed.

You can find the latest RTM copy of Windows 8 here at the MSDN Windows Dev Center (opens in new tab) and the 90 day evaluation copy here the MSDN Evaluation Center.

Oh and just as a reminder to those who are interested in dabbling with the evaluation copy, upgrading to Windows 8 is $39.99 and if you purchase an eligible Windows 7 PC today, you will be able to purchase the upgrade for $14.99 through the Windows Upgrade offer.

Source: MSDN (opens in new tab)

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • So George let me get this straight.
    IF I go with the evaluation copy, I WON'T be able to upgrade to the "certified" W8 on october 26th?
    If the answer is yes,
    ..then how about my situation now where I upgraded my windows 7 PC to Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Can I upgrade my W8 CP to the official W8?
    (in case you couldn't tell, I have NO idea where my install disk for Windows 7 is lol)
  • You will need your XP/Vista/W7 key to get an official version of Windows 8 when released. You will then need to do another clean install. Consumer Preview should be updatable but it's not the same as the RTM version, since it's an earlier build.
  • Truth^^^
  • Thanks. Sucks... but thanks.
    I'll have to fish through that monster of a messy basement to find that W7 key before Oct 26th or my laptop becomes obsolete when consumer preview expires... -___-
  • You can get your key from your existing Windows 7 install. Search online for tips.
  • so i take it you didn't put the sticker on your case eh? :P
  • Someone help me out. I have ONLY Win8 RP on my PC; no 7 in sight. They said that the $40 upgrade offer applies to previewers, but an "underlying" Win7 (or earlier key must be present. I have a 7 key, but it's not underlying. Can I still upgrade?
  • Yea same problem as mine. Daniel answers it up above
  • I thought there was going to be a system builder version that will not require a key.  I would assume that the MSDN version will work like that, and not as an upgrade?  Maybe it will work both ways, whatever I'll find out tomorrow I guess.
    Not sure I want to upgrade though - if it breaks Plex, or Handbrake or whatever else I'll be annoyed!
  • Sorry, I know it requires a key, I meant not requiring a prior install of windows or prior windows key. Making myself clearer lol
  • I've got a question too about upgrading.... I have a laptop with Win7 Ultimate OEM version..... I got the laptop when win7 came out, so which offer will I be subjected too? $40 or $15?
  • $40. The $15 offer is only if you purchased your PC after a certain date.
  • $15 offer is only for laptops bought after June 5th.
  • Cheers guys....
    I'm glad I'm actually getting the offer..... As I thought it was an early OEM key I might not be included
    Here is my situation... I have at home a box from amazon that has a new 128GB mSATA SSD for my silly little Acer Iconia Tab W500. This is great timing if with a new HD I can install the 90 trial. Can I install this on a brand new, no OS hard drive?
    Also, to other peoples fears of not having an install disc, I think, AND I COULD BE WRONG, that your product key should be on a sticker on your computer with windows7 and Microsoft printed on it.
    Ps. Daniel. Though I have just now joined the site, I have been reading and listening to you since WMExperts was hosted by you and Phil. You have come a long way sir.
  • If it hasn't worn off the product key will be on the bottom of your computer. It will also tell you if it's windows 7 or not. That will help anyone who's unsure.
  • not being able to buy an activation key later for the evaluation version is dumb DUMB DUMB!!!!!!
  • Considering the number of changes to the RTM version of OS, it's probably best for all involved that you do a clean install.  Otherwise, you were warned.
  • I don't understand. Isn't the evaluation version just RTM with a key that times out? It's not the release preview, is it? Obviously you can't upgrade from that.
  • Your comment is dumb DUMB DUMB
  • Its also available on TechNet!
  • What about dream spark premium and msdnaa? My uni site isn't showing it :(
  • Look here:
    Just wait for another 9 days. That's what I'll do.
  • Not sure why the surprise and fuss that you can't convert a prerelease/MSDN developer copy of the OS to an official copy. I cannot recall a single instance in the last 10+ years where Microsoft allowed this. It has always been a complete reinstall when moving to a fully-licensed copy. Microsoft clearly states the warning every time.
  • I think that's right. I've installed over the top and it drops your earlier version to Windows.old. Which isn't entirely a bad thing and I do agree, you do want to do a fresh install. It is what I would recommend you do anyway. Keeps the legacy stuff off your freshly installed OS.
  • Is the MSDN subscription RTM version not official? Or are you talking about the pre-release versions?
    The surprise is that the 90-day trial of the final version doesn't let you register seamlessly for the full version like the 90-day Office trial does.
  • MSDN version is complete, but it has use restrictions in the license. MSDN licensed copies are for testing, not for updating your desktop; although if you did mis-use them I've never seen a problem (which is the reason they have reduced the number of keys for the TechNet guys).
  • Visual Studio 2012 also got released to the MSDN subscribers today!
  • I installed W8 on a 4 yr old Gateway laptop. The speed is unbelievable. Issues so far is no multi monitor support. This worked with a W7 on same machine. Another is no always visible clock. It transferred 18 gigs of music in under 10 minutes and installed MS Office pro in about 5 minutes.
  • I have MSDN subscription. Will install it today for sure
  • Yay! A Lumia 900 update on the same day I get to install Windows 8 RTM on the Samsung Series 7 Slate. And I read about it all here first! Thanks WPCentral! What would I do without you??