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Jun 01 2015

Windows 10 due for Release on July 29

Microsoft has confirmed rumors about the release date of its upcoming desktop OS that started to spread at the end of last week.

According to a blog post from Terry Myerson, Microsoft's EVP of Operating Systems, the successor to Windows 8/8.1 will appear in localized versions in 190 countries around the world. Customers who are eligible for a cost-free upgrade (i.e. those running non-enterprise versions of Windows 7 with SP1, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Phone) can now reserve a slot for an automatic upgrade. All they have to do is to click the small Windows symbol on the right side of their taskbar – which should reside there since the May update – and click "Reserve your free upgrade." According to the company's Windows 10 Q&A, reservations may be cancelled at any time between now and the end of July, so there's no obligation to run the process in case you rethink your options.

Like every other edition, Windows 10 is supposed to cure a number of its forerunner's ills – in this case, the most visible change is the return of the Start Menu, which was absent from the immediate predecessors. Elsewhere, Microsoft seems to be playing catch-up with rivals like Apple and Google: Windows 10 includes Microsoft's idea of a better Siri, named Cortana, as well as Microsoft Edge, an entirely new browser that's meant to replace Internet Explorer and offers state-of-the-art features known from Chrome and Firefox, namely expandability via plug-ins, as well as some cutting-edge functionalities, for example the option to leave handwritten or typed notes on web pages you've visited. Further improvements encompass Microsoft Continuum, a feature that enables smooth transitions of the Windows GUI to match the device it's running on; Office on Windows, a touch-optimized, cost-free version of Microsoft's suite of productivity tools; and Windows Hello, a revamped login process that adds native support for biometric authentication via fingerprints, iris scans or face recognition.

Apart from these obvious changes, Windows 10 brings about a fundamental transformation of the underlying business model: by installing the new desktop OS, users basically agree to receive 'their' Windows as a service rather than a packaged product, with all the consequences this entails. One positive aspect is that Microsoft essentially adopts the idea of rolling OS upgrades, which is particularly popular in the Linux world and could help close security holes much faster than today's monthly update process. Professionals and enterprise users, however, may take longer to warm up to this scheme, especially in cases where older, mandatory applications are incompatible with the latest release. Another positive aspect is that Windows 10 was designed to last through the lifetime of any device it's installed on, so there's an opportunity to save on unplanned or forced hardware upgrades if one's current system has enough oomph.

According to online sources, the download will eat up 3 GB of hard disk space. Microsoft claims that the installation will take about an hour on average and only 20 minutes on the latest hardware.

For a more entertaining take on the topic, see Gavin Clarke's report over at The Register.

[Update 06-02-15:] According to a report from The Inquirer, some new Windows features will only be available in select key markets for the foreseeable future: Cortana and Windows Hello with native biometric authentication come to the U.S., UK, China, France, Germany, Italy and Spain; other countries will have to wait for localized versions.


Comments on this article

Fujitsu´s "Workplace Protect" vs. "Winows Hello"
June 15, 2015, 01:55 Unknown user
How do Fujitsu´s Workplace Protect and Workplace Manager, two tools that simplify taking protective measures, compare to Windows Hello features? Do we still need those Fujitsu tools? And if, why?
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