Windows 10 for PCs and tablets slated for general availability on July 29

Windows 10 for PCs and tablets slated for general availability on July 29
Credit: Amana Images

Windows users woke up today to a notice about Windows 10 in their system tray and some guidance on updates

At 2 a.m. Redmond time on Monday, the official notice about Windows 10 general availability hit the Windows blog. Windows honcho Terry Myerson says:

On July 29, you can get Windows 10 for PCs and tablets by taking advantage of the free upgrade offer, or on a new Windows 10 PC from your favorite retailer. If you purchase a new Windows 8.1 device between now and then, the Windows 10 upgrade will be available to you and many retail stores will upgrade your new device for you.

At the same time, Microsoft threw the switch on patch KB 3022345 (or was it KB 3035583 -- or both?), and your Windows 7 or 8.1 computer likely now has a notification in its system tray, near the time. Per Myerson:

You can reserve your free Windows 10 upgrade now through a simple reservation process. Look for this icon in your system tray at the bottom of your screen, simply click on the icon, and then complete the reservation process. You can find more details on how this works at Windows.com.

Microsoft has also posted details about the mechanics of upgrading to Windows 10.

In the mass of information surrounding this announcement, we finally have some guidance on patching:

Windows 10 Home users will have updates from Windows Update automatically available. Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise users will have the ability to defer updates.

It isn't clear if Windows 10 Pro users who wish to defer updates will have to be connected to a Windows Update for Business-enabled server.

There are important ancillary announcements as well. Aside from the obvious (for example, not all programs or drivers will survive the upgrade), we're also advised:

  • If your PC or tablet is currently running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update, you can check to see if it meets the requirements by using Check My PC in the Get Windows 10 app (no details about the Get Windows 10 app).
  • For antivirus and antimalware applications, during upgrade Windows will check to see if your antivirus or antimalware subscription is current. Windows will uninstall your application while preserving your settings. After upgrade is complete, Windows will install the latest version available with the settings that were set prior to upgrade. If your subscription is not current, upgrade will enable Windows defender.
  • Some applications that came from your OEM may be removed prior to upgrade.

Finally, there's an official list of features that won't work the same in Windows 10:

  • Windows Media Center will be removed during the upgrade
  • Watching DVDs requires separate software
  • Win7 gadgets will be removed
  • USB floppy drive drivers have to be manually installed
  • The version of OneDrive in Windows Live Essentials will be removed and replaced by the new OneDrive

Cortana is currently available on only Windows 10 for the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

There's a Web page devoted to explaining that you'll be able to stream Xbox One games to your PC using Windows 10 -- a feature promised in January, but if it's available for testing, I sure haven't seen it.

There are lots of niggling details in the Win10 specifications document, but these struck me as being the most important (and, in some cases, unexpected).

Looks like Windows 10 is coming down the chute in less than two months. Grab your cowboy hat and spurs, and pray the bronco don't buck too much. Yee-haw.

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