This post can also be reached via http://bit.ly/win8nextsteps.
This post assumes you’re brand new to the Windows world. I’ll tell you what to install and what to learn.
First off, visit the Windows Dev Center to download Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I use the ISO version myself, and either burn a DVD or follow my colleague Daniel Egan’s instructions for making a bootable USB thumb drive. You can install Windows directly on a PC, in a bootable VHD, or in a virtual machine. The choice is yours.
Once you have Windows 8 running, go back to the Windows Dev Center to download the tools and SDK. You’ll end up with Visual Studio 11 Express Edition, which is free. Other editions of Visual Studio 11 can run on Windows 7, but the Express Edition only runs on Windows 8.
Next install the sample app pack, also from the Windows Dev Center. This gives you several hundred megabytes of sample code. While there, also consider downloading the design assets if you’ll be working with a designer who uses Photoshop.
Now that you have Windows 8 and the developer tools installed, take a look at some online videos from the Build conference, which happened in September 2011 and was where Windows 8 Developer Preview was unveiled. This was an early version of Windows 8 suitable for developers. Keep in mind that if you see content about Windows 8 development from before 29-Feb-2012, the author is most likely using the Developer Preview and not the Consumer Preview. You may encounter differences between these two builds.
Start with these “Big Picture” videos. You can pick and choose among other videos I list later, but I wouldn’t skip these four:
There are even more videos from Build, and it’s worth taking a look at other titles available. Just head over to http://www.buildwindows.com. Also, training companies such as Pluralsight have created Windows 8 content.
Lastly, and most importantly, add the Building Windows 8 blog to your feed reader. Steven Sinofsky and the Windows team post there. Consider it the final word on all things Windows 8.
If you have any questions, the best place to turn is http://forums.dev.windows.com. Microsoft employees make sure that all questions are answered there.