We've been hearing for weeks about Microsoft's preparation to release Windows 10 on July 29. Cortana told us about the launch date, in fact, when Microsoft originally released the news on June 1.
Now, the software giant has confirmed that the launch date more specifically applies to a select pool of eager users. The full version of Windows 10 will be released on July 29, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to download the new OS that day.
Executive vice president of operating systems Terry Myerson explained in a blog post that on July 29, Windows 10 will start to arrive on the PCs of Windows Insiders. This is the group of about 5 million people who have been downloading preview builds and providing Microsoft with feedback throughout development.
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This early rollout is partially to ensure compatibility.
Myerson noted testing so far has indicated Windows 10 is fully compatible "with the vast majority of Windows 8x and Windows 7x systems." However, it seems the first wave of rollouts is intended to serve as another opportunity for Insiders to provide feedback on the full version of Windows 10.
After receiving general approval from Insiders, Microsoft will start sending notifications to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users who have reserved their upgrades. The rollout will occur in waves, slowly scaling up after the initial July 29 launch.
"Each day of the roll-out, we will listen, learn and update the experience for all Windows 10 users," Myerson wrote. "If you reserved your copy of Windows 10, we will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience, and Windows 10 has been downloaded on your system."
Myerson did not provide a timeline for how long the initial rollouts are expected to take. It should be noted that the July 29 date applies to Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home. Volume Licensing customers will be able to download Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education on August 1 via the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).
The news is a downer, especially for those who were hoping to download and explore Windows 10 on Day One. However, it's an admittedly practical move for Microsoft, which is hoping its new OS will run on one billion devices within three years of its launch date.
After the widespread backlash that followed Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft has gone the extra mile to ensure Windows 10 is shaped to meet consumer demands. This is why the new OS has gotten a visual makeover, and why developers have made user feedback a priority.
Now Microsoft has to ensure the rollout goes off without a hitch. Even with all the testing Windows 10 has undergone it's still a new system that will most likely have the occasional flaw or bug that new systems have. By sending the system out in waves and addressing problems along the way, Microsoft is trying to ensure the rollout goes as smoothly as possible.