Windows 10 will be available July 29 2015 in 190 markets globally as a free upgrade to customers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Here's everything you need to know about the Windows 10 UK release date, price and new features.

Update, 1 June 2015: Microsoft today announced that Windows 10 will be available beginning July 29 in 190 markets around the world. Customers with PCs and laptops running Windows 7 and Windows 8 will be able to get Windows 10 as a free upgrade. Consumers will have one year from July 29 to take advantage of the free upgrade.

Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device—at no cost. Those who want to be among the first in line for the free Windows 10 upgrade can reserve a free copy in the coming weeks.

Build 10122 of the Windows 10 Insider Preview is now available for the Fast ring but users with an AMD GPU will find frequent crashed in Microsoft Edge (still called Project Spartan for now). It includes improvements to both Start and Continuum. There's also a redesigned Insider Hub, changes to the way Windows 10 handles default apps and improvements to the Edge browser.

"I think you’ll see that this build is a bit more stable and polished than the last one, which is to be expected as we begin to stabilize for the public release this summer. From here on out you’ll see fewer big feature changes from build to build, and more tuning, tweaking, stabilizing, and polishing," said in a blog post where you can find out more details of the above additions in Build 10122.

Windows 8 has not been a universal success. In many ways a necessary step not well executed, Windows 8's attempt to stitch together desktop and mobile has been way too radical to encourage new users. And as the longer life of existing PCs and laptops combines with the growth of smartphones and tablets to continually slow PC sales, Window 8 has come to be seen as a dud. See also: Windows 10 review and Windows 10 for phones preview.

This means two things: a new and improved Windows in the fastest possible time and - oddly - a jump in numerals to Window 10.

Windows 10 will include phones and the Xbox One- in an app form. It will also include Cortana and a new web browser currently known as 'Spartan'. Spartan spells the end for Internet Explorer, although it may not completely disappear for a little while yet, according to the IEBlog at MSDN. At Build 2015, Microsoft confirmed it will be called 'Edge' and it will be able to use Fireffox and Chrome extensions.

"When we announced Project Spartan in January, we laid out a plan to use our new rendering engine to power both Project Spartan and Internet Explorer on Windows 10… However, today we’re announcing that on Windows 10, Project Spartan will host our new engine exclusively," says IEBlog. Internet Explorer will continue in its current form in Windows 8.1.

Windows 10 UK release date: When is Windows 10 coming out?

Windows 10 review

The latest build of Windows 10 is available to insider testers now. If you have a compatible Lumia Windows Phone you can even try out an early version of the mobile Windows 10. (See: How to install Windows 10 now and how to install Windows 10 on your phone.

The final version will ship as soon as this summer 2015. Microsoft announced today that Windows 10 will start to roll out on July 29, in almost 200 markets around the world. Previously, Microsoft at Microsoft's re-born WinHEC conference in Shenzhen, attendees were told that Windows 10 will roll out in 190 countries and 111 languages.

Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer at Microsoft had said in late 2014: "By next late summer and early fall we'll be able to bring out this particular OS (operating system). That's the current plan of record," according to Reuters. This means Windows 10 is slightly ahead of schedule, and the upgrade will be ready to go in late July or August. We will bring more details of the UK launch as we have them.

At Build 2015, Microsoft said that Windows 10 will launch in several staggered events from summer onwards, each geared toward different devices with PCs coming first. "The way to think about it will be a launch wave that starts in the summer with PCs, and fills out over time as more devices come online," said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the operating systems group at Microsoft. There's still not a confirmed date for any of these launch events, though Belfiore said that Microsoft is still on track for this summer.

"You should expect [the] phone, HoloLens, Xbox, and Surface Hub [launches] will be staggered," Belfiore explained, because of the complexity of coordinating hardware and software launches.

Although Microsoft was present at CES, it scheduled a Windows 10 event in Redmond back in January in order to "talk about the next chapter of Windows 10". Terry Myerson, Joe Belfiore, Phil Spencer and Satya Nadella all presented. See also: How to watch Microsoft's January 21 Windows 10 event and live blog.

Windows 10 21 January event

How to reserve your copy of Windows 10

So, how do you get your hands on a copy of Windows 10? Windows has organised a reservation service for Windows users to guarantee that they get Windows 10 on launch day. How will it work? Automatic download of course! 

If you’re currently running either Windows 7 or 8.1, you should see a notification pop up in the lower-right corner of your screen informing you that Windows 10 is coming and that Microsoft is offering a limited time free upgrade. If it doesn’t pop up, have no fear – click the small Windows icon in your task bar and it should appear.

The icon should appear if you’ve got Windows Update enabled, but if you don’t, there’s another way to register. You just have to navigate to the Control Panel and click on the Windows Update menu.  

Click on “reserve your free upgrade” in the app window and enter your email address to confirm that your registration has been approved. Once the OS is released on 29 July, you should receive a notification that allows you to schedule the installation time at a time that suits you. The update should’ve already been downloaded in the background. 

Installation time may vary between computers, but Microsoft claims that it could take as little as 20 minutes on a high spec machine – so we estimate it’ll take around an hour for regular PCs. At least you don’t have to wait for the download first!   

It’s worth noting that you’ll still be able to download and install your free copy of Windows 10 without reservation, but you won’t have it pre-downloaded in the background.  

Windows 10 UK price: How much will Windows 10 cost?

Windows 10 release date

Windows 10 will be free to end users. At least it will be a free upgrade. Users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows Phone will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 on their devices, for free. This is guaranteed for the first year of the new OS's shelf life, but we would be surprised if it didn't remain free - depending on uptake.

It was also discovered that the Raspberry Pi 2 might be able to run Windows 10, and that it would be freely available to those customers.

Enterprise customers are not part of the deal, however. Jim Alkove, director of programme management, wrote in a blog post

"Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise are not included in the terms of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer we announced last week, given that active Software Assurance customers will continue to have rights to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside this offer, while also benefiting from the full flexibility to deploy Windows 10 using their existing management infrastructure."

When we started this article we said that we thought Windows 10 would be free to consumers, although not to OEMs who purchase licences to put on PCs and laptops they sell. Microsoft had previously declined to answer direct questions about how much Windows 10 will cost, particularly for people upgrading from Windows 7 or XP saying, "we want to talk about the overall product family [at this stage]". But now we know, as expected, that the Windows 10 upgrade will be free.

Previously Softpedia had quoted "people close to the matter" and said Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 users, but suggested that Windows 7 users may have to pay only a small fee.The good news for Windows 8 refuseniks is that Windows 7 upgraders can do so for free.

Microsoft is hoping to make the upgrade as pain-free as possible for these users, with direct upgrades allowing settings and apps to remain in place. However, XP and Vista users must do a fresh installation if they want to use Windows 10. And they may have to pay.

Suffice to say that in the face of Apple giving away OS X, and declining PC sales, it was always unlikely that Microsoft would charge for Windows 10. Add in the fact that Windows 10 is aimed at smartphones and tablets just as much as desktop PCs and laptops and you can see that there really isn't much of a market for selling the upgrade.

What about Windows Phone 10?

Windows 10 will run on phones, tablets, laptops and PCs. It will not be called Windows Phone 10 on smartphones: just Windows 10. The Technical Preview was made available in early February, and Gabriel Aul, the head of the Windows Insider program and point man for Microsoft's Windows 10 technical preview program, confirmed the launch of another Preview on April 10. 

While Microsoft has dramatically increased the number of phones that Windows 10 preview supports, there's a small piece of bad news: the Lumia Icon and its international variant, the 930, won't be part of the update. For the full story, see: Windows Phone 10 UK release date, price and new features. and How to install Windows 10 on your phone

New features in Windows 10

Perhaps the biggest news about Windows 10 is that it will be - in Microsoft's words, "One product family, one platform, one store". For the desktop version of Windows 10, there will be no more 'duality', as Microsoft's Joe Belfiore put it. That means no more split personality between modern apps and the 'old' desktop.

Here are what we think are the best 10 new features in Windows 10, including Cortana, multiple desktops, a proper start menu and more.

Windows 10: why is it called Windows 10?

During the short briefing in San Francisco when Microsoft unveiled Windows 10, it made it clear that the next version would be very much unified across all types of devices with screen sizes from 4 inches to 80 inches. It confirmed that the next version of Windows Phone - after 8.1 - would be 10 and said, "This product, when you see the product in your fullness I think you'll agree with us that it's a more appropriate name."

When questioned about ARM-based Surface tablets, the answer was, "we're building the software to update vast majority of devices out there." However, it has now become clear that Surface tablets won't be upgradeable to Windows 10.

Microsoft's Terry Myerson summed it up with, "Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect. This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead."

Windows 10: What's Bill Gates got to do with it?

The co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft has been working with the company on a project called Personal Agent, which is in essence an advanced personal assistant.

"One project I am working on with Microsoft is the Personal Agent which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to," he told Reddit. "The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model - the agent will help solve this. It will work across all your devices."

Below follows the rest of our original article containing all the rumours building up to the September 30th event:

Windows 9 September launch event

A leaked document, obtained my, shows some interesting details about Windows 9, including the 'fact' that the Preview version is scheduled for release between "Q2-Q3 2015". This means the official launch is unlikely to be in April 2015 as previously thought. The Q2-Q3 window is huge, of course, and the Preview could therefore appear any time between April and September 2015. It's possible there will be Christmas 2015 launch to consumers and, given that everything never goes to plan with a new Windows launch, we wouldn't be surprised if you can't buy a new laptop, PC or tablet with Windows 9 until then.

The document has a section detailing 'update items' which include changes to the Metro UI (Microsoft still calls the modern UI Metro internally, apparently), Windows Defender, OneDrive and improved Windows activation. There's also a mention of Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1′s personal assistant, which could mean it's coming to Windows 9.

Windows 9 Technical Preview - Task View

Windows 9 Technical Preview leaked

Ahead of the 30 September event, the Windows 9 Technical Preview has been leaked on Winsupersite. The build number is 9841, although the site in unsure whether this is the exact build of the public Technical Preview.

Plenty of information (which we've outlined below) has already been available about Windows 9 including the return of the Start Menu - although it combines the old style Windows 7 style with Windows 8 Starts Screen functionality. New information is that the feature will be resizable.

Windows 9 Start Menu

We've heard that the Charms bar (that bit which pops in from the right) would be gone from Windows 9. However, Winsupersite says that it's still present on touch-based systems but can only be accessed with touch, not a mouse pointer.

Task view (above and shown in one of the videos below) is used to switch between apps and is opened via a button on the taskbar. File Explorer, meanwhile, will open with a new Home view as the default, showing things like favourite folders, recent folders and recent files.

Windows 9 File Explorer Home

Windows 9 leaked videos

Before we even get to 30 September, videos supposedly showing Windows 9 have been leaked online. They show a unified Notification Center, demonstrate multi-desktop (Task view) and the start menu. Watch the videos below but bear in mind that things could change by the time the final version arrives.

Windows 9: No Charms bar

Winbeta claims that in Windows 9, Microsoft will do away with the Charms bar – that menu which pops in from the right with buttons like search, share, start and settings. However, the site is talking about Windows 9 on the desktop as the feature will remain as it is on tablets - this matches up with the information from Winsupersite above.

If you're wondering what the new regime will be, Winbeta said: "One method that we heard about that stands out is having a button up near the window controls that once pressed, would reveal the Search, Share, Devices and Settings charms from the top of the window (there's no need for a Start Button for desktop users in the charms.)"

Windows 9 Charms bar

"Another idea Microsoft have been toying with is removing the Charms completely. While it's possible, we're not entirely sure how that would work," it added.

Windows 9: Start menu returns

As we explain below we are certain that the new Windows update known as 'Threshold' will grow up to be Windows 9. And we expect Windows 9 to launch at some stage in early 2015, probably April 2015. This week we have seen what its claimed are leaked screenshots of Windows 9. Just to confuse things, these shots are labelled 'Windows 8.1 Pro', but that is consistant with what we have been hearing about the Threshold build that will eventually become Windows 9.

Windows-watchers at and Neowin have shown off screenshots of the new Start menu in Windows 9. There's also a shot of the new Windows Store in Windows 9. Click the Windows 9 screenshots to view them at full size.

Windows 9 screenshots

Windows 9 Start Menu Myce

Windows 9 Start Menu Neowin

Windows 9 Store

Look to the lefthand side of the new Start menu in both Start menu shots and you can see a list of recently used apps and the option to select a list of 'All apps'. One interesting point to note is that 'All apps' appears to include both Desktop- and Metro apps. The key to Windows 9 is marrying up the two disparate elements of Windows 8 in a way that makes sense to consumers. This way Microsoft can satisfy both those users who miss the Start menu, and also make Metro apps more useful.

Microsoft hasn't lost its taste for uncomfortable compromise, however. Strong rumours suggest that the expanded Start menu will appear within a more 'Desktop' Start screen and in the Desktop for PC- and laptops users. But that the same, expanded, Start menu may take over the entire Start screen for tablets and other smaller touchscreen devices.

Now look over to the right for another symbol of the same movement. To the right of the apps list is an area with pinned Metro apps. So as now you can see from the Start screen live tiles for important apps such as weather, mail, news, and calendar. Just as now the new Windows 9 Start screen is customisable, it seems, but here you can also pin Desktop Windows software. On both sets of screenshots you can see icons for the Pictures and Documents folders, as well as what looks like a 'My PC' tile that gets you straight into the file system.

Windows Phone 9

Talking of Cortana, the document also mentions Windows Phone 9, which is tagged alongside Windows 9 for a Q2-Q3 Preview release. We're only just seeing new smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 - the first version to feature Cortana - but in a year's time Windows Phone 8 will be consigned to the history book. Let's just hope that existing hardware will be upgradeable and that owners don't end up in the same situation as Windows Phone 7 buyers did.

Windows 9

Based on Microsoft's Build 2014 developer conference, we've put together an article looking at the future of Windows - beyond even Windows 9.

Microsoft partners will be getting a pre-beta version of Windows Developer Preview 9 soon, we understand. Thus those partners will have seen the earliest version of Windows 9 before the Build conference this April.

We expect to see a single beta of Windows 9, which will likely appear in the summer of 2014. If everything goes perfectly it is possible that Microsoft will release a Release Candidate version at the end of August or the beginning of September 2014. That date could easily slip.

Once a RC is released, bugs will be collected and fixed for several months before the final code is released to manufacturers. On this basis, it makes sense to see a Preview version from April 2015 onwards. (See also: How to use Windows 8: 10 tips to get you started on Windows 8.)

Windows 9 features

We expect that Windows 9 will be 64-bit only, although we expected that for Windows 8 and we were wrong. A lot depends - as ever with Microsoft - on what OEMs want to build, and what Intel gives them with which to build.

One thing that Microsoft has to do is allow Windows Phone and Windows RT apps to run on both Windows Phone and Windows. Even Xbox apps should become cross compatible. You may also be able to pin Metro apps to the taskbar. Also expect to see Kinect-based 3D gestures to be enabled for laptops with 3D cameras - basically the ability to control your computer with gestures.

Microsoft's recent pronouncements suggest a full return of the Start menu and that Windows 8-style apps will be able to run on the desktop. Windows 9 will definitely be less traumatic a chance for desktop users.

One key - although less obvious - development is likely to be much improved power management. The rise of mobile devices has made battery life a key battle ground for Windows. Intel has done its part, massively improving power management with its latest generation of mobile processors. But the Windows software needs to keep pace, so expect Microsoft to make great claims for Windows 9's power management capabilities.

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