A final copy of Windows 8 leaked to the Internet on Thursday, just a day after Microsoft stamped the new operating system as finished. Identified as Windows 8 Enterprise N -- the "N" marks it as aimed at European users -- on several BitTorrent file-sharing websites, it was unclear yesterday whether the leaked build was legitimate.
Although some who downloaded the leaked copy asserted it was an invalid build, the consensus early Friday was that it was the real deal.
"Legitimate. It works. Looks real," said one commenter on a popular file-sharing site. Numerous downloaders posted screenshots to back up their contention that the leak was the actual Windows 8.
Previously, Microsoft has warned users not to install leaked builds, claiming that they can be infected with malware.
Some customers can obtain a non-pirated copy of Windows 8 as soon as Aug. 15, when the RTM, or "release to manufacturing" milestone -- the same code as will be installed on new PCs -- reaches the MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) and TechNet services.
Enterprises with Software Assurance licensing plans -- Software Assurance is essentially an annuity that gives companies the right to run any version of a product -- will be able to grab Windows 8 starting Aug. 16, as will members of the Microsoft Partner Network.
Windows 8 will launch Oct. 26, with two editions in retail -- Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro -- and another, the Enterprise edition that leaked yesterday, targeting corporations with volume licensing agreements.
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