Since Windows 8 is the newest Operating System software from Microsoft and it contains a lot of visual and performance changes, Microsoft provided different versions for testing during its development process. The first version released to the public was Windows 8 Developer Preview and then Windows 8 Consumer Preview. After that the final pre-release version was Windows 8 Release Preview.
Since the launch of Windows 8 RTM final version to General Availability, Microsoft has removed all previous versions of Windows 8 meant for testing. Now if you want to test Windows 8 before buying it, you will be out of luck because Microsoft is not providing an evaluation version of Microsoft Windows 8 publicly.
The only option for you will be to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition which can be downloaded and used for 180 days. The problem with the Enterprise evaluation version is that it can neither be converted to another edition like Standard or Pro nor it can be activated. It is purely for evaluation purposes. In the meanwhile if you tend to like Windows 8 and buy it, you will have to download the Windows 8 RTM version again to install a fresh copy on your computer.
Although Windows provides tools like Easy Windows Transfer to transfer all the files and settings to the new installation of Windows, it is always a tough ask. Here we will see how we can save the downloaded version of Windows 8 after purchasing.
To go with Windows 8, you must ensure that your computer is compatible with Windows 8 system requirements. The easiest way to check everything is one go is to download the Windows Upgrade Assistant, a portable tool which can check if your computer meets all the hardware and software requirements of Windows 8.
Windows Upgrade Assistant will also let you buy Windows 8. Here is a complete step by step procedure by which you can buy and download Windows 8 RTM final version and then save the downloaded setup for future usage.
Windows Upgrade Assistant takes quite some time to analyze the system requirements.
After the analysis, a report will be displayed which will show you how many installed software are compatible with the latest version of Windows 8. There will be some software which will not be compatible and will be available for you to review. The upgrade assistant will guide you if the latest version of the particular software supports Windows 8 or not.
After the review, click on the Next button to proceed. The next screen will show you the Windows 8 upgrade offer which is $39.99 for Windows 8 Pro. You can either choose to download the Windows 8 setup ISO file or check Windows DVD so that Microsoft can ship you the DVD at your doorstep.
Next, you will need to enter the billing address. Make sure this is the same address as on your credit card that you will be using to purchase Windows 8 in the next steps.
Choose the payment method. Only credit card is supported for my location at the moment.
After the purchase, the upgrade assistant will let you download Windows 8 setup and then burn the bootable DVD. The bootable DVD can be used to upgrade your current installation of Windows to Windows 8.
Please note that the upgrade assistant will store Windows 8 setup files in C:ESDWindowsSources folder. You can save these files for future usage. If you have bought your current Operating System after June, 2012, you will be eligible for Windows 8 special upgrade offer. So you will be able to get Windows 8 in $14.99 only.
Re-download Windows 8 ISO after purchasing the product key
If you have already purchased Windows 8 from the above given method or any other method and you have the product key, you will be able to re-download Windows 8 from Microsoft using the following steps:
Run the program and enter your product key. You can also use generic Windows 8 product keys but note that with these generic keys, you will not be able to activate your Windows 8 product. You will need to have your purchased Windows 8 key in order to activate Windows. Here are some generic keys:
Standard = FB4WR-32NVD-4RW79-XQFWH-CYQG3
Professional = XKY4K-2NRWR-8F6P2-448RF-CRYQH
Professional Media Center Edition = RR3BN-3YY9P-9D7FC-7J4YF-QGJXW
The program will verify the product key and will give you a choice whether to install Windows 8 directly or download and burn the Windows 8 ISO image file.