When is the Windows 10 release date?
Microsoft slated Windows 10 for a summer launch, and the company has stuck to its word. Following several leaks (and one giant snafu from US retailer NewEgg which published an incorrect launch date), it has been confirmed that Windows 10 will launch on July 29.
That said, it’s unlikely that Windows 10 will release for all device types on this date. Judging from comments made by Microsoft Corporate VP of Operating Systems Joe Belfiore, the company has planned a phased approach to the launch. Windows 10 will release for desktop and laptop devices first, then trickle down to phones, the Xbox One, Arduino machines and its own HoloLens.
How much will Windows 10 cost?
Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson announced in January that Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users for its first year. Microsoft also confirmed a while ago that the two most recent Windows versions will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 directly.
However, if you’re not eligible for Microsoft’s upgrade program – those who upgrade after the first-year free offer, or those running a non-genuine Windows version or one older than Windows 7 – Windows 10 Home will cost $119 (£99, €135, about AU$156) and Windows 10 Pro will cost $199 (about £131, €178 AU$262) per license, Microsoft confirmed to TechRadar.
Windows 10 Home users who want to upgrade to Pro will have to pay an additional $99 (about £65, €88, AU$130) for the Windows 10 Pro pack. Unfortunately, Microsoft has been mum on exact Pro pricing for the UK and EU, while nothing has been said of Australian pricing.
The company promises that it will support those who scored a free upgrade to Windows 10 with security and system updates for the lifetime of those Windows devices.
Neowin reported back in February that Microsoft has trademarked the term “Windows 365,” supposedly with the intent of it being a service. The news and speculation has sent folks buzzing about the possibility of a subscription-based Windows to come, though that’s not likely to be Windows 10. Oh, we hope not.
How will I get to download Windows 10?
Confirming the rumours and leaks leading up, Microsoft has already started the upgrade process for current Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. If your machine is up-to-date today, you will soon see a small icon of the Windows logo on your task bar next to the internet status icon.
Clicking it will open a window that details the upgrade process and will allow you to ‘reserve’ your free Windows 10 download by providing your email address. Presumably on or in advance of launch day, Microsoft will download the OS to your device and notify you when it’s ready to install.
What follows that prompt are a few bits of info to tease the new release and get users excited. It’s that easy.
Seven shades of Windows 10
Windows 10 will be available in seven versions, far more than one would have expected in the first place. While IoT, Mobile, Home, Enterprise and Professional were already confirmed, Mobile Enterprise and Education were unexpected. In comparison, there were only four versions of Windows 8.1 (five if you include Windows Phone 8) and one of them was Windows RT.
Microsoft clarified the free upgrade offer for Windows 10, adding that Windows 10 Home and Pro will be available for free to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users that have appropriate licenses (presumably, Windows 8.1 Home users will only be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Home).
What’s new in Windows Technical Preview?
The latest WTP build available for all testers is build #10240, released one day ago as of this writing. This update has been marked by Microsoft as RTM, or Release To Manufacturer, meaning that this is likely the build of Windows 10 that will come loaded on every new laptop and PC running the OS for some time.
The most notable feature you can expect to find in the latest build is the nearly-final version of Edge, Microsoft’s new web browser. The new browser was teased ad nauseum at the company’s Build 2015 event, and we’ve even gone hands on with Microsoft Edge.
So, your chance to test the version of Edge we did a few months back, or possibly one more recent than that, has finally come. However, one Edge feature that is not yet available is extension support – this will come in a sizable autumn update.
Other updates coming through in build #10240 are upgrades for Cortana, now able to compose and send emails following your dictation and train to your voice specifically. The Photos app has been further upgraded to now support GIFs, too. There’s a vast list of smaller updates and improvements that can be found here.
Finally, Microsoft detailed what will happen for those that installed the Windows 10 Technical Preview directly on top of Windows 7 or 8.1: not too much. Basically, if this is how you installed the preview, just keep receiving the updates as normal and, come July 29, you’ll have the same version of Windows 10 as everyone else.
Regardless of whether the “final” version of Windows 10 is available, Insiders must continue to receive preview updates – which will not stop after July 29 – for their copy of Windows to remain genuine. If you want to opt out of the preview, you’ll likely have to restore back to your previous version of Windows 7 or 8.1 and perform a clean Windows 10 install from there.
Further updates are in the works (already)
Before Windows 10 has even launched, Microsoft’s upgrade plans for the OS have leaked. Operating under the codename Redstone, the Windows maker will issue updates in two waves.
According to Neowin’s report, the first will come June 2016 and the other October of next year. But don’t expect huge, sprawling changes from these updates – they’re likely to be tweaks to the new OS for specific types of hardware and other improvements.
By Joe Osborne