Windows 10 release date: When is Microsoft’s free upgrade available?

28 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

3 tips for a hassle-free Windows 10 upgrade.

On Wednesday, Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 upgrades to Insider members, followed by users who’ve made a reservation, and then the general public.SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system debuts Wednesday, as the longtime leader in PC software struggles to carve out a new role in a world where people increasingly rely on smartphones, tablets and information stored online.

The latest version of Microsoft’s software is designed to be used across PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, and is the company’s second attempt at mounting a serious challenge in the mobile device market. If you’ve got a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, you’re eligible for a free upgrade, and there’s a lot to love about Windows 10, from new features to under-the-hood tweaks to a much-needed interface revamp. It’s basically do-or-die for Microsoft’s new operating system on 29 July, as Windows 10 is going to be the “last version of Windows.” Finally, consumers and enterprises would be able to get their hands on the new platform — which in many ways, fixed the mistakes the software giant made with Windows 8.

You’ve learned that it’s free and includes cool features like a voice-activated digital assistant named Cortana, the information-packed Action Center, faster startup, virtual desktops, and the return of the Start menu. There’s no denying the fact that Microsoft is doing its last-minute bit to please individual consumers, but at the same time it is leaving no stone unturned to make Windows 10 a success among its enterprise customers.

Even if you have all your data in OneDrive or another cloud storage service, having a complete local backup is much easier to deal with should the worst happen. The launch will be accompanied by a global marketing campaign for an event the company hopes will be pivotal — both for its own future and for a vast audience of computer users around the world. Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, will also make its debut on PCs, and a number of security features, including biometrics such as fingerprints, will be brought in with Windows 10.

It has new features, a streamlined Web browser called Edge and a desktop version of Cortana, the online assistant that is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri. And if you’re upgrading through the toolbar button that Microsoft has displayed on Windows 7 and 8 desktop toolbars, the decision will be made for you. Many services offer an encryption option where only you have the key, but if you don’t trust the mainstream services, there’s also the encryption-focused SpiderOak. In fact, we have a release of enterprise features which I mentioned in my script, which will ship in that timeframe and I expect piloting to start and deployments to start in the second half of the fiscal year.” — Existing consumers and small business users will get free upgrades, while the update is being handled differently for enterprise users.

Here’s a table from Microsoft that explains what edition of Windows 10 you’ll be upgraded to: Missing from this table are several more specialized flavors of Windows—Enterprise and Windows 10 IoT Core—but these won’t be options for typical consumers. You’ve got the smart, sassy Cortana personal assistant, Task View (a.k.a. virtual desktops), the new Edge browser, windowed modern UI apps, modern Office, and—if you’ve got the right hardware—Windows Hello. Microsoft, in its blog, said, “We understand that businesses require more control in how updates are delivered, and at what pace.” Most enterprise customers will get updates automatically, but unlike consumers many enterprises are quite fussy about automatic updates. Enterprise, as the name suggests, will be offered to larger organizations in volume licensing, and will be deployed and managed by the company’s IT departments.

Dell, HP, Lenovo and Acer will all have devices with the new software available for sale on its first day. “The real competition for PCs is with the other ecosystems out there,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s marketing chief for Windows and devices. “This is bringing real energy to the Windows ecosystem and to the extent that we do that, it’s good for the Windows PC market.” Some may not get it the first day; Microsoft says it will deliver downloads in waves, to ensure things go smoothly, but it hasn’t said how long that will take. Windows still snap to the left or right the same way, cycling through open windows hasn’t changed (but it has been folded into Task View), and you still hit the Windows key + E to get to File Explorer. But there are some new additions, such as a quick way to create and close new virtual desktops, snapping with Windows 10’s Quadrants, and working with Task View. In addition, some of the other enterprise security features include — Direct Access, AppLocker, BranchCache and more granular UX and Group Policy controls.

Microsoft needs a large pool of users to convince independent programmers that it’s worth their time to build useful or entertaining apps for Windows 10 devices. Most PCs manufactured within the last few years run at 64-bits, which allows more memory use by applications; 32-bit PCs are limited to between 3MB and 4MB of RAM for applications. But Microsoft plans to phase out maintenance and security support for Windows 7 over the next five years, and for Windows 8 by 2023, as it did with the older Windows XP.

In Windows 8, you needed Pro to get Windows Media Center, but that’s no longer available in either version. (Instead, users will need to turn to third-party offerings such as CyberLink’s PowerDVD.) The one feature on this list that may be of interest to non-corporate users is BitLocker, which allows security-minded folks to encrypt their hard drives. A: The growth in mobile devices has caused PC sales to decline for more than three years, hurting manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and companies like Microsoft and Intel, whose products are used with PCs. After all that, if you’ve decided you want or need Windows 10 Pro, you’ll have to purchase the $99.99 Windows 10 Pro Pack. (The identical deal held for Window 8.1, by the way.) All reports are pointing to Windows 10 being something you want to get in on.

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