Microsoft has finally officially announced that the release date for Windows 10 will be July 29th. This is a few months earlier than the previous vaguely stated “before the end of summer” announcement, but months later than a flurry of rumors had wistfully predicted. Over a billion Windows 7 and 8.1 owners will soon be able to claim their free upgrade. For those not eligible for the free upgrade, new retail copies of Windows 10 and new computers with Windows 10 will also be available on July 29th.
If you now use a valid and fully updated installation of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you may have already noticed a new Windows icon on the right side of your taskbar. “Get Windows 10” software was installed via automatic updates in late March and was recently activated. The icon will appear only after your copy of windows is verified as genuine and your system analysis meets the minimum hardware requirements. While the installation was somewhat surreptitious, the stated intent is to enable a historic number of updates to take place on the first day of availability.
Clicking on the Get Windows 10 icon will initiate a 5 page promotion which explains the upgrade and encourages you to reserve your free upgrade to Windows 10. Accepting the invitation will preload parts of Windows 10 in advance so that you can be ready to rock and roll on or after July 29 when the software will be available. It will not install until you grant explicit permission to do so. You can rescind your reservation if you change your mind and you can delay installation until July 29, 2016.
Development of windows 10 has been more public and more accelerated than any prior version. Continuous change and improvement is the stated goal of this “last version” of Windows, rather than a complete revision every three years. As I write this commentary, about 6 weeks prior to public availability, we have seen steady progress with pleasant improvements and enticing added features, but there are certainly still incomplete features and persistent annoyances. Will everything work as hoped at the starting bell? Will most of the expected features be present and accounted for? Will it be better than what you are currently using?
Microsoft certainly has the resources and personnel required to eventually complete their grand design. I am hopeful but not optimistic that the July 29th version will be ready for prime time. At the current level of development, I am not quite ready to switch to Windows 10 for my personal work or play. On the other hand, my test system will still be among the first to have the latest and greatest version. I expect the remaining difficulties will be settled before the year is over. Perhaps operating system programs are like laws and sausages wherein it’s just better not to see them being made.