Windows 8 has gone gold and that means OEMs are starting to get the final version of the operating system. It won't be going out to consumers until October 26 so manufacturers and developers have a few months to get everything in order and up to speed with the launch version. If you don't feel like waiting though, a new avenue has been made available thanks to a leak.
The full version of Windows 8 that was shipped to OEMs on Wednesday has already been leaked onto various file sharing sites. If you're thinking, "That didn't take long," you're not alone. On the other hand, I'm surprised it took even a day for it to leak. New operating systems and software can sometimes show up days before they even go gold.
As for the leak itself, it's obvious that one of the OEM partners who received the OS leaked it. I'm sure Microsoft is conducting their own internal investigation. I would hate to be the OEM partner who hired the guy responsible for the leak.
So if you decide to track down a copy of this illegal copy of Windows 8, know that you are getting the "N" version of the OS. Thanks to a ruling from the European Union, Microsoft must offer a version of Windows that does not come with Windows Media Player. So if you want to try out the full version of Windows 8, you're going to have to do so without Windows Media Player.
If you're a developer just itching to get into Windows 8, you only have to wait a few more days to get your hands on it legally. Microsoft announced that MSDN developers will be getting their hands on the OS starting August 15. Everybody else is going to have to wait until the actual launch date or however long it takes them to download it via their favorite torrent tracker.
Since this is a leak and is looked on as being illegal, expect no official support from Microsoft if things go awry. You should also expect Microsoft to do some terrible things to your installation if they find that you're using a leaked copy. The company is pretty strict when it comes to piracy and shutting down your Microsoft account, which is required for much of Windows 8, would not be beyond their means.[h/t: The Verge]