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Windows 8 unlocks History Vault for Time Machine-style backup

Microsoft is showing off Windows 8 to its mates, including a History Vault backup feature that takes on Apple's Time Machine.

Microsoft is showing off Windows 8 to its closest chums. The company is quietly passing round an early version of the software to friendly companies so they can start thinking about the computers that will run Windows 8 -- which will include a History Vault feature that takes on Apple's Time Machine.

Gates' mates are distributing version 7971.0.110324-1900 of the operating system to original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, Winrumors reports. Those are the companies that build the hardware that will use Windows 8, with HP specifically named in the report.

Some screenshots are starting to appear online, including the one pictured above that asks early adopters not to leak the look of Windows 8. Sorry about that, Microsoft.

The software is distributed via Microsoft Connect, the system that collects your feedback. You know, like when your computer crashes in the middle of some really important work and a button pops up asking if you want to submit a report, and you're all, "I got your report right here, buddy!"

Windows 8 is set to include a new feature called History Vault. It may sound like an educational TV series from the 80s, but it is in fact a system for automatically backing up your files and data, and restoring your computer back to how it was at a particular moment. Like a time machine for your computer, if you will -- or even a Time Machine.

Windows 8 is set to sport the clean 'Metro' style seen in Windows Phone 7. It's likely that Microsoft's operating system for mobile phones, will have an influence because Windows 8 will serve tablets as well.

Windows 8 could be in beta -- open to the public -- in September this year. That'll put it close on the heels of Apple's latest operating system update, iOS X Lion.