Microsoft has made a number of changes to the Windows 8 desktop in the Release Preview, though this new is somewhat undercut by the fact that the Aero desktop theme will soon be replaced, post-Release Preview, with a modern, Metro-like theme.

There are of course a few changes.

First, Microsoft has tossed out a new default wallpaper. Nothing special, but here goes:

defaulttheme

Second, the Explorer window UIs have been flatted significantly in preparation for the move to the new modern theme. The following screenshots show a Release Preview window overlayed on top of a Consumer Preview window for comparison purposes.

explorer_01
Release Preview (top), Consumer Preview (bottom)

explorer_02
Release Preview (top), Consumer Preview (bottom) 

Users of Multi-monitor systems will be pleased to discover that the mouse-based hot corner issues from the Consumer Preview—where it was too easy to push the mouse cursor past a hot corner of a screen that was physically next to another screen—has been fixed. Now, the corners are “sticky” and easier to use. I wrote about multi-monitor features in Windows 8 separately in Windows 8 Feature Focus: Multi-Monitor and 8 Days A Week: Release Preview Buildup if you want more information.

Beyond that, the desktop is largely as it was in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

But wait, there’s more!

Discover much, much more about the Windows 8 Release Preview in Windows 8 Release Preview: The Ultimate Delta Guide, a guide to all of the articles I’ve published about this milestone build of Microsoft’s next OS.