Microsoft is starting its week on a positive note with news of a July 29 launch date for Windows 10. You can hear Cortana tell you herself on the Windows blog.
On July 29, Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade to users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. This offer is a one-year deal, so you have until July 2016 either to upgrade an existing device or to purchase a new Windows 10 product.
The initial Windows 10 release will be limited to PCs and tablets. We will eventually see a mobile version, but Microsoft hasn't yet mentioned a launch date for it.
If you want to download Windows 10 early, Microsoft recommends reserving an upgrade in the Get Windows 10 app. This can be done by clicking the Windows icon on the taskbar, selecting "reserve your free upgrade," and entering an email for confirmation.
Don't want to reserve? You can still get Windows 10, but it might take a while. Microsoft will begin notifying reserved devices of their upgrade availability on launch day. "Some notifications will go out as soon as Windows 10 is available; others may go out in the weeks or months following," the company reports.
We've been hearing about Windows 10 for a few months now, ever since it was first announced in late January. Over the last few months, Microsoft has rolled out myriad new OS features that aim to address the shortcomings in Windows 8 and solidify the company's status as a front-runner in modern technology.
Microsoft let users in on OS development by releasing preview builds to an audience of Windows Insiders. Throughout development, more than 4 million Insiders tested Windows 10 and provided Microsoft with feedback that was used to inform changes.
Some of the most anticipated features included an updated Cortana, Microsoft Edge browser, new security measures, universal apps, Continuum for transferring between tablet and PC mode, and revamped apps for essentials like Mail, Photos, and Calendar. Microsoft is also emphasizing its focus on productivity with universal apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. We'll also see the return of traditional favorites like the Start menu and Solitaire.
July 29 marks the last major OS launch for Microsoft. Starting with Windows 10, new features and security fixes will be delivered in smaller incremental changes. The availability of "Windows-as-a-Service" means that rather than waiting until the next major Windows launch, customers can receive updates as they are ready.