Windows 8

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Windows 8
Version of Microsoft Windows
OS familyWindows NT
Preliminary name
Architecturex86, x64, ARM
Latest build
Release date2012-10-26
Support end2016-01-12
Windows 7
Replaced by
Windows 8.1

Windows 8 is an operating system developed by Microsoft. It replaces Windows 7 and is replaced by Windows 8.1. It reached RTM on 2012-08-01 and was released to general availability on 2012-10-26. Windows 8 was one of the most short-lived releases, and its end of support was on 2016-01-12, as extended support was in favor of Windows 8.1.


It comes in four main editions: Core, RT, Pro, and Enterprise. All other editions are variations of those editions.

  • Windows 8 (Core) is the most basic edition available for purchase, and is intended for the average home user.
  • Windows RT (CoreARM) is Core for the ARM architecture. It can only launch Windows Store apps and signed Microsoft desktop applications, but apart from the addition of device encryption it has the same feature set as its base edition.
  • Windows 8 Single Language (CoreSingleLanguage) is Core without the ability to install language packs.
  • Windows 8 China (CoreCountrySpecific), as the name implies is intended for the mainland Chinese market. It only allows the Simplified Chinese language pack to be installed.
  • Windows 8 Pro is meant for the enthusiast and business markets, and most notably supports running Hyper-V virtual machines, receiving RDP connections, and BitLocker.
  • Windows 8 Pro with Media Center is exactly what the name implies. It can be upgraded to from Core and Pro with Windows Anytime Upgrade.
  • Windows 8 Enterprise is designed for large organizations and can only be activated with a KMS server or MAK keys. It has the same feature set as Pro, but additionally allows creating Windows to Go portable workspaces. It doesn't have Windows Media Center and it cannot be added with any officially sanctioned methods.

Media Center

Unlike Windows Vista and Windows 7, Windows Media Center is not included by default in any Windows 8 edition. Customers with existing Windows 8 users can purchase Media Center with the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which includes Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. Customers with existing Windows 8 Pro licenses can purchase Media Center with the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which was free previously under a promotional offer (until 2013-01-31).

Start button

Windows 8 was the first Windows operating system ever since Windows 3.1 to have no Start button. Although the last build of Windows 8 to have the Start button by default was 8176, it is possible to remove the Start button from the taskbar, starting on build 7927. To accomplish this, you need to make a new DWORD in HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer called YouBettaHideYoPearl, with its value set to 1. After doing so, log off and log back in. If done correctly, the Start button should be removed.


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