Microsoft has distributed early versions of Windows 8 to the firm's major OEM partners according to a WinRumors report.
OEMs giants such as HP are able to access a build called Milestone 3 via Microsoft's Connect external testing system.
Reports have emerged that the first beta of Windows 8 is due around September or October and while few details are known about the new operating system, the existence of a new system reset feature has been widely leaked with associated screenshots.
The system reset function will allow users to restore a computer to the default shipped condition, presumably scrubbing all the user's own programs and data but helpfully restoring the vendor's bloatware.
Other claims have been made of a fully 3D UI. Microsoft research chief Craig Mundie has signalled a major shift in UI, not just for desktop and notebook use but for large screen devices as well.
Microsoft did announce that the next generation of Windows will run on ARM processors, a move quickly followed by Nvidia announcing the intention to ship a desktop processor based on ARM to compete with chips from Intel.