Microsoft fans are giddy this week, as the house that Gates built has released a consumer preview of their latest version of the Windows operating system, Windows 8. They say it's the biggest redesign since Windows 95, which turns 17 years old this month. So what new things does Windows 8 have? Here's a quick rundown of some of the new features.

First up, is a new touch interface. Taking a cue from Mac OS X Lion, they have integrated gestures on the screen to access different aspects of the interface. Swipe one way, get your apps. Swipe another, get some options for managing the desktop.

If you want more out of your Windows 8 machine, you'll be able to download apps from the new Windows app store. With the variety of software available, it'll be easy and simple for you to expand the capabilities of your system. It's Cloud-based, of course, as is most of the Windows 8 system. Microsoft has already set up a Cloud-based system, and the new Windows will integrate right into it. Your files, settings, Skydrive and more all flow into the new Internet Explorer 10. Using the touch interface, tabs and navigation controls will appear. It also gives you the ability to launch favorite sites from the Start menu, just like apps.

So far, Windows 8 is looking good. But the proof will be in how it's used in the real world. It shouldn't be long before we start to see some reviews and be able to gauge how it works. Keep watching my blog for updates. In the meantime, you can try it yourself. Go to the main Microsoft Windows 8 Preview page to download your copy.

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