Windows 8 may have arrived early, though not necessarily legally.
Sites that follow beta versions of Windows, such as winbeta.org, as well as more mainstream sites are claiming that the final version of Windows 8 Enterprise has already leaked onto file-sharing sites.
"It looks like our first leak has occurred, as Windows 8 Enterprise N has appeared on torrenting sites and has been confirmed by several that it's the real deal," said winbeta.org in a post earlier today.
That site is also quick to offer a disclaimer about whether the final versions are real or fake. "Remember, we are yet to confirm this as real or fake," said winbeta.org.
On Monday, Microsoft published the schedule for the general release of Windows 8 (below). The first downloads won't be available until August 15, when developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via MSDN subscriptions.
Here's the schedule for general release as posted yesterday by Microsoft.
- August 15: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via their MSDN subscription.
- August 15: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through their TechNet subscription.
- August 16: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing them to test, pilot, and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within their organization.
- August 16: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
- August 20: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
- September 1: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
Microsoft, as a rule, encourages customers to download Microsoft software from its own Web properties because there's no way for Microsoft to be sure of what's included in the bits downloaded from other sites.
And Microsoft also generally encourages users to take steps to keep Windows secure.
Microsoft declined to comment.