Windows 10 UK release: everything you need to know
Windows 10 has been a long time coming, but it has finally start to arrive on machines. Over the past few months, Microsoft has been slowly revealing what we have to look forward to in the new operating system.
Here we run through the confirmed new features, provide details on how to download Windows 10, and reveal how much Microsoft’s new OS will cost.
What is Windows 10?
Windows 10 isn’t just a follow-up, designed to rectify the foibles of Windows 8 and 8.1; it’s a whole new approach to how Microsoft will position itself in the PC, mobile and TV markets and beyond. This is Satya Nadella’s all-new Microsoft, and Windows 10 is the clearest demonstration yet that he means business.
It’s positioned as an OS that spans all Microsoft devices. Although the desktop, mobile and other versions share code and a related look and feel, they’re not identical. What they can all do, though, is potentially run the same applications: Windows 10 Universal apps will work on every platform running the OS, from desktop to mobile to TV. At least that’s the theory: whether this will work in practice remains to be seen.
Support for OneDrive comes as standard across all the versions, too, allowing you to access your files from a Windows 10 account running on any of your devices.
Cortana has also made the jump from mobile to desktop, gaining deep-level access and natural-language recognition in Windows 10. This means it’s now capable of searching your OneDrive, Windows Store purchases and more, syncing this information to provide handy suggestions for discovering new apps and websites. And, since Cortana does almost all of its processing in the cloud, it will remember your searches and provide assistance from any device.
Windows 10: Editions
Consumer purchasers can choose between Home, Mobile and Pro editions of Windows 10. Enterprise-level customers have a choice of Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobile. There’s also a Windows 10 Education edition serving as a replacement for Student and Teacher.
Users of Windows 7 Home and Home Premium, Windows 8 or 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 Home for free. If you’re running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro, you’ll receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
Enterprise-level users will need to buy a new volume-licence subscription to upgrade, just like a normal upgrade cycle. If you want to take up Windows 10 Education, you can upgrade from Windows 10 Home or Pro, or just buy a new copy.
Retail versions of Windows 10 Home and Pro editions will come on USB drives instead of DVDs. However, according to the Amazon listings for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, it looks as though they won’t be shipping until 30 August.
Those interested in Windows 10 Mobile will have to wait a little longer; currently there are no details around how the upgrade process will work. We do know that it’s only available for owners of specific Windows Phone 8.1 handsets, but it’s unclear whether the upgrade will be free.
Windows 10: Price
If you’ve already purchased a copy of Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, and you’re not a volume licence holder, congratulations – you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
Owners of eligible Windows Phone 8.1 handsets will be able to upgrade, although Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed the details of how and when this will happen. Although there’s no guarantees, it’s probable this will be a free upgrade too.
If you’re moving from an older version of Windows, such as Vista or – heaven forbid – XP, or plan to upgrade after the year is up, it seems that you could end up paying £100 for Windows 10 Home. There’s currently no confirmed UK price for Windows 10 Pro, but in a statement to Neowin, Microsoft confirmed that the US edition of Pro would cost $199, reflected by Amazon’s listing of Home and Pro costing $120 and $200 respectively. This equates to around £129, so a £149 price point isn’t inconceivable for a UK edition of Pro.
It’s unclear if these prices are final figures, as Microsoft refers to them as “estimated retail price” in its promotional copy. It’s also unknown whether these are purely digital download prices or representative of the cost of a physical copy.