It’s official: Microsoft confirmed on Monday that Windows 10 is coming on July 29 as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. Recently, you may have noticed a new Windows icon on your task bar next to your clock. Don’t worry, this is not some sort of phishing malware. Clicking it will open a window that details the upgrade process and will allow you to “reserve” your free Windows 10 download by providing your email address. If you don’t see the Get Windows 10 icon on your PC, it might be because:
1) Your device isn’t up-to-date with at least Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
2) Windows Update is turned off or is not set to received updates automatically.
3) You’ve blocked or uninstalled the necessary Windows Update functionality.
4) Your device is not running genuine Windows.
Running Windows Update and installing any available updates will fix the first three issues. Also, PCs that Microsoft determines cannot run Windows 10 will not see the Get Windows 10 icon before July 29. After July 29 they’ll enable the icon in the system tray. This is to help ensure that you can easily check your PC’s compatibility if you choose. Presumably on or in advance of launch day, Microsoft will download the OS to your device and notify you when it’s ready to install. You’ll need to upgrade within the first year of release to get the free upgrade. After July 29th,2016 there will be a fee. The company promises that it will support those who scored a free upgrade to Windows 10 with security and system updates for the lifetime of those Windows devices.
A Few Notable New Features:
The aging Internet Explorer is being replaced with a new browser called Microsoft Edge which is packed with slick new features including Reading Mode which blocks all ads and just feeds you the content you want to read.
Cortana, Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistant, will be built right into Windows 10. Cortana’s features include being able to set reminders, recognize natural voice without the user having to input a predefined series of commands, and answer questions using information from Bing (like current weather and traffic conditions, sports scores; etc).
The Start menu has been completely overhauled. Windows 8’s Start screen proved contentious. The full screen colourful Live Tiles offered useful notifications and information, but they were designed with touchscreen devices in mind. Now, with Windows 10, when you press the Start button, you remain on your desktop (see the screenshot above). Your most frequently used apps are stacked in a column. Alongside that are the Live Tiles which you can freely customize and arrange on your Start menu.
Microsoft has also proclaimed Windows 10 to be the last complete revision of it’s flagship operating system. From now on, instead of big releases, there will be regular improvements and updates to the OS.