Windows 10 to be free upgrade for many during its first year

Microsoft made the announcement at an event being held in Redmond to pitch the upcoming OS to consumers

Microsoft's Terry Myerson introduces Windows 10 features

Microsoft's Terry Myerson introduces Windows 10 features

Four months after pitching Windows 10 to businesses, Microsoft is focusing on consumers at an event where CEO Satya Nadella and other officials are pledging that the new OS offers individuals significant advances over Windows 8, its problematic predecessor.

"Today is a monumental day for Windows," Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group, said at the event, held at Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, headquarters.

The first big news: Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to current users of Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 7 during its first year of availability.

However, Myerson said "this so much more than a free one-time upgrade." Once installed, Windows 10 will be kept continually "current" throughout the lifecycle of the device. As the OS is treated more as an Internet service, asking what version of the OS someone has installed becomes irrelevant, he said.

As Microsoft has stated previously, Myerson reiterated that, unlike previous iterations of the OS, Windows 10 will deliver a consistent yet tailored product family across all types of computing devices, from screenless, embedded IoT sensors to all-in-one computers with gigantic displays. The Windows 10 family will also include versions for smartphones, tablets, wearables, hybrid tablet-laptops, TVs, PCs and the Xbox gaming console.

For developers, there will be a common development platform, whether they're building enterprise software or games, and a single application store to purchase, distribute and update the apps.

Joe Belfiore, the vice president of the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, followed Myerson on stage, and showed the Cortana voice-activated digital assistant working for the first time on a Windows 10 PC, using a pre-release build of the OS that will be released to testers in the coming months.

There are currently about 1.7 million [m] people signed up with the Insider program to test Windows 10 before it ships commercially, which is expected to happen by mid-year.

Since the release of Windows 8 in 2012, Microsoft has been in a persistent damage-control mode regarding the OS, so it's hoping to turn over a new leaf with Windows 10 and close the chapter on its predecessor. With Windows 8, Microsoft misread the market and botched the product's user interface, leaving a trail of many unhappy customers.

Windows 8 horrified critics with its radically different default Modern UI, which was optimized for touchscreen tablets, and with its alternate traditional desktop, which was included to run legacy Windows 7 applications but lacked key familiar features like the Start button and menu.

Users also complained that the process of toggling between the Modern interface and the traditional desktop was clunky and erratic. Microsoft addressed some of the biggest complaints in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update, but it never fully fixed the problem.

To drive the point home that it has listened to the criticism, Microsoft decided to skip a number for the next major edition of Windows, jumping from Windows 8 to Windows 10, which the company has described as "a whole new generation" of the OS that delivers what consumers and enterprises "demand and what we will deliver."

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindowssoftwareoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?