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Windows 8 beta now available as Consumer Preview

The new version of Windows is now available in beta, so you can have a look see what all the fuss is about.

It's touted as the first truly mobile version of the operating system, and described by Microsoft as a "generational change" in its approach to computing. And now it's here, for us to download and play with.

If you've got a Windows 7 PC, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview should work -- just head over here and hit the 'Get it now' tab. And you're ready to get busy with all those tiles.

All the apps you download will be free until the commercial launch in a few months. Examples include Amazon's Kindle ebook reader, games such as Cut The Rope, and Vimeo for video sharing.

It's designed to work on PCs with a mouse and keyboard, or touchscreen devices like tablets. If you want to calibrate your mouse and keyboard for optimal use on Windows 8, download an app called Microsoft Device Center that'll help you customise your gear.

Windows boss Steven Sinofsky showed off Windows 8 at Mobile World Congress yesterday. He described it as Microsoft's most radical redesign since Windows 95. The redesign started three years ago, right after the launch of Windows 7. Recently, Windows unveiled the logo for Windows 8, keeping with its tile-based design ethic. Though some unkind souls said it looked like it was made using Clip Art.

Nik Rawlinson went hands-on with the new operating system back in September -- read his thoughts here. It's been available for developers for a while now. We predicted Microsoft would make the unveil back at the beginning of the month, and we even got the date right. Get us. Microsoft also explained exactly how Windows 8 will run on mobile devices that use ARM chips.

Download the beta and let me know what you make of it. Can it wipe the slate clean since Windows 7? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. And for everything Mobile World Congress, stay tuned to mwc.cnet.co.uk .