Windows 10 release date set
MICROSOFT will release Windows 10, a huge upgrade to its operating system, on July 29.
The upgrade will be offered free to users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The free offer will be available for the first year after it is released.
For users on older versions of Windows, Microsoft hasn't yet said exactly how upgrades will work. It's thought that those on Windows XP and Vista will have to buy new versions of the operating system, as will those building their own computers.
Microsoft announced the new operating system late last year, before unveiling new features in January. But it had previously stayed quiet on when exactly it would come out, only teasing "later this year".
The new Windows brings back the Start bar, as well as a range of other features. It is widely seen as an attempt to recover some of the damage done by Windows 8, which was largely criticised by users.
It also marks the beginning of "Windows as a service" - the idea that the operating system is not just one product but a continually updated one that works across devices. Microsoft said in its announcement that "once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device - at no cost".
Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 for free apparently to reduce "fragmentation", the challenges for developers who at the moment must make software to work on a variety of operating systems. It also brings it in line with competitors like Apple, which has given away the most recent versions of its own desktop operating system.
The company said that those "who want to be among the first in line for the free Windows 10 upgrade can reserve a free copy in the coming weeks".
Creepy little button
A tiny button is arriving on people's desktops, bringing with it Windows 10, the new version of Microsoft's operating system.
The button - the installation of which has been described as "creepy", but gives you free access to Microsoft's update - puts a little Windows logo into the system tray at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Clicking on it begins a registration process, which will mean that computers will be updated straight away when Windows 10 is released.
Clicking on the small icon lets users register their email address. When that's done, the copy of Windows 10 is reserved and will automatically be downloaded.
It's not clear whether pre-registering will be a requisite to downloading it on that day - although Microsoft is sending the update digitally, and so there'll be no limit to their stock. The upgrade will be free for Windows 7 and 8 users. Pricing for those on older and other versions of the operating system is yet to be set.
The last Windows OS
Windows 10 is going to be the last major version of the operating service (OS), according to a Microsoft developer.
Speaking at the company's Ignite conference in May, developer evangelist Jerry Nixon said: "Right now we're releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we're all still working on Windows 10."
Instead of new major versions, the product will be improved in regular instalments and automatic updates, much akin to apps and modern browsers.
Microsoft launched Windows 8.1 last year while developing Windows 10 in the background, a tactic that will not reoccur due to the OS's rolling update status.