A: Microsoft's development of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 has been an interesting ride, resulting in many previews and download points.

Below are the key release dates for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, from Developer Preview to General Availability. Where not specified, the dates apply to both Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

  • Developer Preview Build 8102 - September 13, 2011
  • Consumer Preview/Beta Build 8250 - February 29, 2012
  • Release Preview/Release Candidate Build 8400 - May 31, 2012
  • Release To Manufacturing (RTM) Build 9200 - August 1, 2012
  • Download on MSDN and TechNet - August 15, 2012
  • Download via Volume License Service Center for Windows 8 Enterprise Edition - August 16, 2012
  • Download via Microsoft Partner Network - August 16, 2012
  • Download access for Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) - August 20, 2012
  • Ability to purchase Windows 8 for customers without Software Assurance via Microsoft Volume License Resellers - September 1, 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 General Availability - September 4, 2012 (See the Windows Server blog)
  • Windows 8 General Availability - October 26, 2012 (See the Windows Team blog)
  • Microsoft Surface RT Availability - October 26, 2012

I've written a lot of FAQs about Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, and the latest Hyper-V info, which you can browse through at the FAQ page here.

And my colleague, Paul Thurrott, has a plethora of Windows 8 screen shots, reviews, and posts about at the SuperSite for Windows.

 And also check out Active Directory expert Sean Deuby's latest articles on Windows Server 2012.