How To Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Microsoft made Windows 8 Consumer Preview available for public download yesterday. A lot has changed since Developer Preview, and if you’re using Windows 7 or earlier, the Metro UI is a whole new world. Here’s how to install it using custom settings, and a look at some of the features you can expect.

Welcome to Windows 8 – First Steps after Install

Welcome to Windows 8 Consumer Preview! You’re greeted with the Metro UI. You’ll notice there are several different app tiles. Including the much talked about SkyDrive integration.


Now that you’re ready to start your Windows 8 journey, one of the first things you should do is check for Windows Updates. It took me some hunting to find them, but I finally did.

Hover your pointer over the lower right corner of the Metro UI screen. It pops up a transparent sidebar that contains what Microsoft calls “Charms” – which reminds me of the OS X Dock. Then click or Tap Settings.


There you’ll find Power, Sound, Notifications and more. Click More PC Settings.

more PC Settings

Then you’re at the new Control Panel. Under PC Settings scroll down and tap or click Windows Update and click Check for Updates. It was surprising that there were already five important updates on the OS which came out the same day.

Typical Microsoft and rather humorous. Probably a few tweaks they didn’t have time to get into the build before the big announcement.

five updates

Click the Important Updates to be Installed link. Then you can see what they are. I went ahead and installed them.

Update Specifics

Have fun exploring the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Things are laid out very differently than what you’re used to. I am getting better at it as I continue testing, but I am not sure if the Interface is laid out the best.

Virtualize Windows 8

During the Keynote at Mobile World Congress, Microsoft execs said it’s best to test the new OS on two or more physical computers. Being a tech writer and professional tech geek, I have multiple machines for testing. But not everyone has extra system to spare. And it’s definitely not recommended to install this beta version on your primary computer.

If you don’t have an extra physical machine to spare, install it on a virtual machine like VirtualBox. If you don’t have VirtualBox installed yet, check out this install walkthrough by Austin Krause.

For the correct VirtualBox settings, follow Steve’s guide on how to install Windows 8 Developer Preview on VirtualBox. You’ll use the same settings in his guide to set up your VM for Windows 8 Customer Preview.


By the way, make sure to check out the Windows 8 Apps Store. During the Customer Preview cycle – All apps are free!

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  1. Johnny Tensongs

    What is your opinion of CCLEANER?

    • Steve Krause

      @Johnny – CCLeaner is a great app. Highly recommended from my standpoint. Why are you looking for how to run it or?

  2. Louie Jr

    My laptop is running windows Vista’s 64-bit Home Premium addition. Am I able to install this Win 8 Consumer preview, and or do I have to pay for this upgrade to continue using it?

  3. Bart Surminski

    Good stuff about the free apps, I didn’t even bother looking in the app store, I reckoned it would be empty.. Windows 8 is gonna be a killer app for netbooks. I’ve finetuned my install to improve performance even more:

    @Louie, since your Laptop is able to run Vista x64, running Windows 8 won’t be a problem. The Win 8 Consumer preview is free to use. But please read the fineprint, because this is still an experimental version which can only be used for a certain period of time once Windows 8 goes RTM (Release to Manufacturer)

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