After much hype and an abundance of testing, Windows 10 -- the latest version of the Microsoft Windows operating system -- begins this week, with release starting July 29. The new OS is scheduled to roll out in phases, going first to Windows Insiders and then being released in waves to users who have made reservations online. Enterprise users will begin seeing Windows 10 on August 1.
Windows 10 will be the "last" version of the operating system. Rather than releasing future upgrades as discrete, numbered generations, Microsoft plans to roll out continuous updates as part of its operating system "as-a-service" model for Windows.
Microsoft says Windows 10 is "the Windows you know, only better." Some key features of Windows 10 include the return of the Start Menu (which Windows 8 eliminated, creating a flood of user complaints); the debut of a new browser -- Microsoft Edge -- to replace Internet Explorer; and advanced integration of Cortana, Microsoft's voice-controlled digital personal assistant.
Windows 10 will also be the first universal version of the OS, meaning that the same code will be used across all Windows devices, from desktop computers and tablets to Windows phones.
8 Was So Bad, No 9 Needed
Underscoring the distance that Microsoft wants to put between the new OS and the previous version is the fact that it's named Windows 10 -- there will be no "9" to succeed the much-hated Windows 8.
According to Microsoft, Windows 10 has been heavily reviewed and tweaked ahead of its release date based on the input of five million Windows Insiders who have been taking multiple pre-release builds for test drives. That's a far cry from the approach Redmond used before launching Windows 8.
"Windows 8 was built in near-secrecy, with few disclosures and no broad public testing program," Al Gillen, program vice president for servers and system software at IDC, told us. "Windows 10 is being developed in about as different of a process as it could be."
Gillen said he has been using Windows 10 for a while, and sees it as a notable improvement over previous versions.
"Windows 10 brings the best of Windows 8 and Windows 7 into a common UI that gives you a touch-enabled environment that also is efficiently used with a keyboard and mouse interface," he said. "To the extent that application environments can be unified, as Microsoft is doing with the universal application platform, that is a real positive for developers. In Microsoft's case, it is hard to get developers excited about its relatively small installed base of phones and tablets, but by unifying the customer base across PCs, tablets and phones, the opportunity potentially gets a whole lot larger."
Automatic Updates, Like It or Not
With the future of Windows now built on an "as-a-service" path, ongoing updates will be delivered automatically, as documented in the recently published End User License Agreement (EULA). In other words, consumer and small-business users won't be able to selectively avoid software updates as they're released.
"The software periodically checks for system and app updates, and downloads and installs them for you," according to the EULA. "By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice."
Among some of the other new features arriving with Windows 10 will be a unified, cross-device Windows store; screen views that are optimized for each device; and support for game streaming from Xbox One consoles.
Posted: 2015-07-26 @ 11:46pm PT
Why shouldn't non business versions still be able to select which updates to system and applications? This is the only problem I see with this new 'final solution'.
Posted: 2015-07-26 @ 11:41pm PT
All fine apart from not being able to select which updates a user wishes to install or not. Why didn't they want to include that option?
Posted: 2015-07-26 @ 1:37pm PT
@WashIN911, the rules for enterprise updates are different from what you read in the article above. I would advise that in the future you go directly to your Microsoft Support agent for information.
Posted: 2015-07-26 @ 12:33pm PT
In the enterprise versions the company will be able to defer the updates.
Posted: 2015-07-26 @ 11:48am PT
If automatic updates are a mandatory part of Windows 10 then we are out from the start. We have too many mission critical applications and legacy hardware components that don't always play well with updates. There is NO way we can afford to compromise public safety by turning over control of our computer update services to someone who is not on hand when the update rolls out and crashes systems in the 911 center or responder vehicles.
Our normal process for updates is to apply them to one unit then make sure that it continues to work in real world conditions as expected. After a few days with no problems a wider roll out is initiated. Then after a few more days a complete roll out of non problematic updates. You only have to be burnt once to become very paranoid about updates. We have enough problems with legacy equipment given Windows habit of randomly assigning port numbers to USB slots. So I have to make sure our computers have Serial Com ports.