Windows 8 was released in the consumer preview edition in late February. This is what used to be called the beta version. Microsoft is still correcting bugs (errors) in the code and uses feedback from people using this version to fix bugs in the previous version.
The official copy of Windows 8 is expected to be released later this year. It should be relatively bug-free, but with the size and complexity of programs like Windows, it is impossible to make them totally bug-free.
Windows 8 is an upgrade from Windows 7. It features a totally new desktop called Metro that is designed for programs or applications that have been designed for Windows 8. Basically, Metro puts a number of large, colored icons (pictures representing the programs) on your desktop, and it appears similar to what people have become accustomed to seeing on their smart phones and other mobile devices. Windows 8 is designed to work on your smart phone, net computer and regular PC, and appear similar on all of them. The large icons on the Metro desktop are designed for touch screens to easily touch and run programs.
You will be able to change a setting and get your traditional Windows desktop, but Microsoft expects that we will be using the Metro desktop in future. We will wait and see how users like the Metro desktop and whether it will be successful or not.
If you want to try Windows 8 now, you can go to the Microsoft website and get a Consumer Preview Edition copy. However if you get it and use it, do not use it on a machine that has important items on it, as beta copies (which this is) are not always stable. They can crash, and you can lose everything. You may find some things do not work with the beta version, but do work when the regular version arrives.
Send your questions to Dwight Watt at firstname.lastname@example.org. He teaches at a technical college in northwest Georgia and does consulting work for businesses and individuals. His website is www.dwightwatt.com.