09/13/2011 12:35 pm ET Updated Nov 13, 2011

Windows 8 Preview: Microsoft Shows Off New Operating System (PICTURES)

At Microsoft's Build conference on Tuesday, the company showed off its radically different Windows 8 operating system.

Developed for use on tablets and touch interfaces, as well as desktop PCs, Windows 8's touchable interface resembles that of the company's smartphone platform, Windows Phone 7. The new Windows 8 will also rely more heavily on the cloud than previous versions of Windows.

AllThingsD details what users can expect from the moment they start up the OS:

Once users log on — either through a password, PIN or by making certain gestures on a photograph, users are taken to a start screen that bears more resemblance to Windows Phone 7 than to the traditional Windows desktop. From there, users can run various programs, including many new-style Windows apps that are designed just for Windows 8.

Microsoft is also planning an app store for Windows 8, according to a Microsoft Press Release.

Windows President Steven Sinofsky reminded eager Windows users that this preview is meant strictly for developers. "It is not a beta release," Sinofsky wrote on the Building Windows 8 blog. "We will be updating the release with various quality updates and drivers over the coming weeks/months just to exercise our overall update and telemetry mechanisms."

Engadget, who's already gotten a hands-on look at Windows 8, says, "It's unlike anything we've seen before."

Visit Engadget for a hands-on look at the upcoming Windows 8.

Take a look at some screen shots of the Windows 8 user interface (below).