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Report: Windows 8 Beta Coming in February

Windows 8 could be available in beta by late February, if the "sources close to Microsoft" can be believed. These unnamed informants who spoke to couldn't confirm the exact date or the contents of the beta. But we imagine it will be an improvement over what we've seen so far. The revamped operating system was previously rumored to be coming in late 2012.

A lot is expected for Microsoft, and a lot hangs in the balance as the software giant takes on Apple and its iOS mobile platform. While it looks a bit like Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 is a whole new desktop operating system, which will work on tablets and PCs. Although it has a whole new touch-friendly interface and will run shiny new full-screen apps, Windows 8 will also be compatible with all the desktop programs PC users like to run.

Whether the February date is true or not, it is clear that Microsoft is moving forward with the OS, as indicated by the expected launch of the Windows Apps Store next Tuesday. And Nokia boss Stephen Elop let it drop last month that the smartphone maker might be releasing a Windows 8 tablet by June of next year.

If you can't wait and need to get started learning about Semantic Zoom, a smarter touch system, and Magazinify, it is possible to dual-boot Windows 7 and 8 simultaneously, if you follow our directions. Stay tuned for more Windows 8 news as it becomes available.