Windows 10 Is Out: What You Need To Know

Can't wait to get your hands on the newest, greatest and last big upgrade for Microsoft's Windows operating system? Here are a few things to keep in mind for today's launch of Windows 10.

Is Windows 10 actually out today? Yep! Well, sort of. Windows 10 upgrade roll-outs start today, so if you were one of the first to reserve a place in the virtual Windows 10 upgrade queue, your download (about 3-4GB in size) will happen soon, or may have already happened. From that point, you'll be prompted by the installer itself -- the little icon in your taskbar -- to upgrade whenever you so choose. More info is available on Microsoft's official Windows 10 site.

Is it actually free? Yep, sure. If you have a desktop PC or laptop with a legit copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8, then your upgrade to Windows 10 is free for the next year. No hidden costs, no ongoing fees -- just a simple, clean, no-bullshit upgrade to the newest version of Windows, and the peace of mind of always having an up-to-date system from the day that you first boot into Windows 10. If you don't already have a Windows 7 or 8 key, then things get a little more complicated.

So how do I actually get it? If you already have an (up to date, activated, legit) Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1 desktop or laptop computer, you'll see a "Get Windows 10" icon in your PC's taskbar, next to the system clock and volume. That little Windows icon is an invitation to reserve your free upgrade of Windows 10 -- from there, you get your place in line for a Windows 10 download, and enter your email address for confirmation. From there, well, you wait, and get a notification when it's ready to install.

Is there a retail version that I can buy? It's highly likely that retail editions of Windows 10 will be available to purchase in Oz -- not for Windows 7 and 8 and 8.1 upgraders, since that's free, but for anyone upgrading an older system on Windows XP or Vista. Similarly, you should be able to buy a copy of Windows 10 alongside a new PC from a specialised computer retailer, or an OEM copy alongside a bunch of components for a new machine. We're checking the specifics on OEM copies of Win10 with Microsoft.

Are there different editions of Windows 10? Yes, there are actually seven different versions of Windows 10, but only two will be relevant to you as a consumer. There's Windows 10 Home, which is the mainstream made-for-everyone version with the standard featureset (Cortana, Microsoft's Edge browser, access to the Windows Store and so on), and a Windows 10 Pro version for businesses and power users (adding host Remote Desktop powers, support for 512GB RAM, Windows Update for Business, and so on).

Can I buy a Windows 10 PC or laptop today? Sure -- if you walk into a Dick Smith or JB Hi-Fi or Harvey Norman as of today, there will be computers on show that will have Windows 10 pre-installed. Most stores should have them ready. That is the simplest route into getting Windows 10 -- no installation, no upgrading, no mucking around required. You'll also see a lot of Windows 8.1 PCs still on shelves, and naturally all of those will be upgradeable to Windows 10 for free any time in the next year.

Will Aussie users of Windows 10 get to meet Cortana? Not straight away. Australia isn't a launch market for Cortana in Windows 10, which means we'll have to wait a while to get the digital voice assistant that takes your notes, sets calendar reminders and searches the 'net for you. At the moment, Cortana will be available as of tomorrow in the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. If you're part of the Windows 10 Insider program, Cortana will be available "this winter", so within the next month.

Can I roll back to a previous version of Windows? Yep, if you don't like Windows 10, you're able to roll back to a previous version of Windows through a couple of different methods. The first and simplest is likely to create a full backup of your system before install with a good piece of PC backup software -- I'm a fan of Acronis True Image -- and then upgrade to Windows 10 with that safety net in place. Otherwise, you'll be able to roll-back to your previous version of Windows -- whether it's 7 or 8 -- for a month after you run the initial upgrade and install Windows 10.

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Comments

    Does "this winter" mean our winter, or the north's? I don't have high hopes for it making it in the next month.

    Not that this should even be a thing since they got Aussie working with the Kinect, which itself took an inexcusable length of time post-launch.

      And Cortana is working just fine on Windows Phone for Aussies. I'm guessing this is less a language thing and more an infrastructure thing - I'd expect the back end calls to their servers to be small in size but large in number.

        Hopefully it means we'll actually get Cortana, instead of the god awful Cortana alpha we have now. I doubt it though.

        I believe a large part of it is about localised content. Things such as news, sports results, public holidays and possibly handling some words different where they may carry different meanings in different regions. They may also want to use a different voice actor for the region, although I'm not sure on that one.

        Xbox One has Kinect, but a large portion of the Kinects usage is to issue basic commands such as "snap this", "go home" etc. probably more so than anything else, which is largely locale agnostic.

        Last edited 29/07/15 1:24 pm

          Windows Phone 8.1 has Cortana in Australia, that's what he's referring to. It doesn't seem to know the NRL exists though, and is basically a cut down version of the UK Cortana.

            My bad, missed that.

            That said if we get a better experience in a month or two I won't be too upset for the delay. Cortana's not a part of my daily workflow personally, so I won't really know what I'm missing until I get it. As an aside, I'm pretty keen to see what they do with regards to integrating it with the Xbox One. I find the current Kinect commands pretty terrible, especially the strictness of the syntax. Really hoping the late year update to the console gives us an overhaul with far more fluid control.

        Cortana works on WinPhone 8 if you change your language but in W10 and W10 Mobile, they have closed that loophole so you cannot get it to work at all. Maybe you can screw around for days to get past it but, frankly, why woudl you bother?

          Took me 15 seconds and one reboot to get it in windows 10 mobile, same way you used to have to do it in windows phone 8.1 before they released it in Australia, which was a year or more ago.

            Which build? I've gone back to WP8, W10M is still way too buggy and doesn't really work as well for me anyway.

              Only the latest, 1066 I think it is? Walked into Big W last week and they had Lumia 532 for $49, so bought one for testing win10. Not putting it on my daily.

        Actually Cortana only works on my lumia 930 IF i set region to US.

        PROBLEM with this is as soon as you want to use the app store you need to set your region to AU. and thus no Cortana :(
        lol

      Our winter. I pasted the official lines from Microsoft into a comment below in italics; I agree that it's a bit of a weird delay all things considered.

      just change your system language to US and you can use cortana. Change your date format to something logical and ask for the weather in Celsius when you ask her and its pretty much flawless

    Can I roll back to Win 95 :D

      How are you still using a computer from the stone age? Aren't the rocks and vines all worn out and broken?

        Id be interested to see the desktop makeup for users of gizmodo.com.au. I remmeber a couple of years ago, pcpro.co.uk shared its analytics, and there were some people who actually browsed their site via an Amiga 500! I was impressed, and if im honest, a little bit jealous that i didnt have an amiga anymore....

          Hehe - i read an article a couple of days ago about a group of schools in some American county that have a miggy 500 controlling their heating systems - apparently they've had it 30 years or so - here's a link if you're interested :0)

          http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/theres-30-year-old-commodore-amiga-still-controlling-heat-ac-19-public-schools/

          (daft sub-note - while typing this reply, the word "Amiga" shows up as a spelling error - sacrilege!)

      Yes, But I'd really recommend Windows NT4 Service Pack 3 instead.

    Looking forward to seeing that icon telling me it's ready to install for myself - I've successfully buried the urge to jump in early but now it's here - I want it now!~

      It'll be tomorrow our time won't it? :\

        According to the MS website, it launched here 8 AM AEST this morning

          where on the website?

        Nope. Upgrading right now on lunch break.
        I am ready for DX12.

          Got a new AMD 4.3ghz processor, 16gb ram and a 970 4gb card recently...

          My pc is ready, willing and salivating...

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

      Change your location to US before running it and change it back when you have it running.

      You're welcome

      Last edited 30/07/15 8:24 pm

    I’m a fan of Acronis True ImageYeah, big fan myself. It's gotten me out of many a hiccup over the years and if you're using an SSD it can be as little as 15-20 minutes to get back to a recent iteration of your build or even a clean install, which is what I'll be doing with 10.

    Last edited 29/07/15 8:52 am

    So if I don't have Office on my current version of 7 will I get it if i upgrade to 10?

      Nope, you can install Office Mobile, but it's read only if you don't have a 365 sub. I have Office Pro installed on this machine and office mobile is still read only.

        That's right. There are free apps you can install if you want for viewing, you can still do basic editing on OneDrive.com, etc.

    Will contana be working for UK English installs of windows (rather than US english which has been required for all of the pre-release versions)?

    Oh and if anyone out there doesn't have a legit key, google "reddit microsoft swap". Use with caution, however you can purchase a legit win 7/8 key.

      Yes, Cortana UK has been available for the last month or two in preview. Personally I prefer the US voice acting to the UK robot.

    Can we access that 3-4GB file and use it to update other eligible PCs we own to save some download data?

      as someone still waiting on tony's broken nbn at home id like to know this too

      See my comment below (accidentally posted it as a new comment rather than a reply).

      You want a program called esd-decrypter-wimlib-6. Use at your own risk. It has the RSA keys to decrypt install.esd and turn it into an ISO. Remember though you have to upgrade a PC before a fresh install to claim your free licence. Also Pro-Pro, Home-Home, 32bit-32bit, etc. So if you have a variety of windows versions now, you'll need different ISO's.

      Last edited 29/07/15 10:46 am

      That was touted as a feature some months ago but I've not seen anything about it recently.

    Microsoft is like when the cowboys shot the chief, none of the indians knew what to do.
    Then they hired Steve Ballmer, and then Windows 8 happened. It's all been downhill since.
    Windows 10 is the recovery process from the complete and utter disaster that was Windows 8.
    Kinda like listening to your bones knit after a train wreck.

    Last edited 29/07/15 9:41 am

      hey look, some random on the internet has an opinion on the corporate strategy of a $360bn company he doesn't work for.

      Let's all take him seriously.

        Dont worry, Fluffy is a grade A moron.

          Let's gather together and forage through the MH17 like debris field that is Windows 8. See if we can not cannibalize enough wreckage to make an operating system from Windows 8. THAT is Windows 10. Steve Ballmers head is like the pubes on the circumference on an egg, who were not invited to the party on top of his head. Steve Ballmer beeps when he backs up, and that dome like reflecting bald head of his could be used as a solar panel, his head is a UFO landing zone.

          New uses for Steve Ballmers head:

          http://imgur.com/012QhCu

          Last edited 29/07/15 6:20 pm

            c'mon mate. Attacking someone's appearance is the first sign of not having a legitimate criticisms. Especially when Ballmer hasn't been CEO since Feb 2014.

              He doesn't have any legitimate criticisms. He is a petulant child

        He's not pitching at a Microsoft board meeting he's voicing his opinion on a forum online, let the man have his say. Besides windows 8 wasn't that great, I would have been disappointed if i'd rushed out to get Windows 8 on day 1

        Last edited 29/07/15 6:57 pm

          Most of this guy's posts over the past month are either melodramatic complaints about Windows, or sexist slurs at female article authors. It's not a one-off thing, he's very much earned this derision.

    According to Microsoft (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_install/how-to-upgrade-from-previous-versions-of-windows/31722b30-1da9-42bb-b331-0edc4649bf43) you will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 using an ISO.

    Windows 10 will be offered two ways to existing Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users. You will be able to download the update through Windows Update or you can download .ISO media and use it do an in place upgrade.

    However, you will not be able to do a clean upgrade using the ISO:

    Please be aware that you cannot use the free upgrade offer to perform a clean install on first attempt. You must first upgrade from the qualifying version of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 (whether you do it through Windows Update or using the .ISO file).

      Note that you can do a clean install after you've done a qualifying upgrade on that device.

        Also note that when the installer prompts for the key when doing a clean install, just skip the step. It'll ask you twice, but when you boot up it'll be activated.

      Official Windows 10 download tool link on Microsoft site for creating an ISO:

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

      I'm current part way through downloading the ISO.

    I dunno why people are so keen to get it immediately. Just wait your turn, it will come. I've been on Windows 7 for 6 years, I can wait another week.

    If you really can't wait, the RTM has been available via "other" means for a couple of weeks already.

    If I'm putting a new SSD in my desktop and transferring the existing one to my server this weekend, am I better off waiting until then to go win10? Or do it now and image the drive (as someone talked about above)

    So I do the free upgrade then a year from now I want to do a clean install of Windows. Do I use the Windows 10 ISO and install fresh that way with my Win7 key or do I have to install a fresh Win7 then do the upgrade again?
    **edit** Never mind, I re-read it. Next time I can do a clean install. Good work MS. Maybe Windows will be the powerhouse it once was.

    Last edited 29/07/15 11:05 am

      Where do you get the Windows 10 ISO?

        From what I understand it is a staged release and the ISO will not be available from zero hour and will be released over the coming days (most likely with the volume licensing release date of 1st August). However, if you have one machine pre-registered and it downloads Windows 10, you may be able to convert the downloaded ESD file to an ISO which you can use to install on other machines (see https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_wintp-insider_install/instructions-create-a-bootable-iso-file-using-esd/d2768b51-221a-436e-af4e-d3b9118a8864)

          Thanks I also found a zdnet article explaining how to do it.

          It's worthwhile keeping a copy of your current operating system and it's license keys on a network share drive incase you ever need to clean install it (broadband is so slow in this country it would take hours to download it otherwise)

          Last edited 29/07/15 4:18 pm

        Microsoft made them available sometime this afternoon. You can build an ISO at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

    If your desire is to buy a retail version of Windows 10, and there is no retail version available, goto vanskeys dot com (or any similar site) purchase a Windows 7 Ultimate or Professional or Windows 8 Pro key, download the ISO of 7/8, install and then upgrade to 10.

    Last edited 29/07/15 11:11 am

      Damn, that's cheaper than educational discounts. Is it legit?

        Yes I had my doubts at first as well, but I'm using a key purchased from them and found out about it from others in Australia also reporting a positive outcome.

        If there is any problem send them an e-mail (yes they do respond, although it may take a few days)

    The one thing I want to know is if I can grab a small SSD and then, using my Windows 7 key, create a new boot disk on the SSD separately to the main drive that Windows 7 is on? Currently my O/S is on a platter drive.. I want it on an SSD...

      I want to know this too. I was planning on getting a new HDD and doing a clean install of 64bit on that.

      For some reason my machine is currently running 32-bit Windows 8 and I don't want to upgrade that to the 32-bit version of Windows 10.

      Yes you can do that, the process will be the same as it always has been and there should be heaps of guides for doing that on the net.

      When you boot the USB stick you created from the ISO (use USB instead of a DVD disc, it's faster and error free) and start the Windows 7 installer it asks you which drive you want to install it on.

      If you want to dual boot windows 7 and 10 that is probably more complex but I imagine there are guides for that too.

    For some reason my laptop refuses to update to win 7 service pack 1.
    is service pack 1 a requirement of the update, I would like to simply do a fresh install on the laptop given how bogged down it is (Sony Vaio)

      You can visit the Microsoft Software Recovery page here:
      http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery

      Enter the product key that came with your Vaio and M$ will give you a link to download the ISO for Windows 7. Fresh install (it will walk you through the process so it's better if you have this page up on a separate PC/Mac/Chromebook while you are working on your VAIO) and do all the critical AND optional Windows Updates. Service Pack 1 will be included as part of that process.

      As your PC keeps restarting after each set of updates installs, new updates will be available so keep checking and clicking on "check for windows updates"

      Once you have completed ALL critical/required AND optional Windows Updates, then you can click the Get Windows 10 taskbar icon.

      Incase it isn't obvious by now:
      The Get Windows 10 icon won't appear until you have installed all the optional windows updates as well as all the required updates.

      Last edited 29/07/15 12:10 pm

    I have reserved my copy waiting to download could be today or tomorrow.

    @campbellsimpson what is your source confirming that you can walk into a retail store and buy a system with Windows 10 pre-loaded from today? I spoke to a tier 1 oem provider yesterday that said no one is currently shipping systems with windows 10 pre-loaded. Also all I'm seeing on JB and HN's websites are "buy a windows 8.1 system and get windows 10 for free"... just curious if you've seen or know something I don't... perhaps my info is wrong?

    I decided that I don't want to go with the politics Microsoft was enforcing - using their upgrade tool. I want an ISO and do a clean install by myself. As a person with MSDN subscription I assumed that it will be available there but it's not. Only Insider preview...
    Well, it's a bit disappointing..:(

      ISO page now live. http://www.neowin.net/news/download-windows-10-isos

        to check links before you post them

          What was wrong with that link - it points to this microsoft page:
          https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

          which gives you the tool to download Windows 10 and convert it into an ISO format (so no mucking around with hidden folders and such - good work Microsoft)

          Linked to source, what's wrong with that? Neowin link to the Microsoft page.

    I'm curious as to those of us that may have *cough* not quite legit copies of Win 8.1, but KMS versions that qualify perfectly well for the upgrade. If using 'Recovery Keys' to rip the 'valid' license key from the software, whether that would work in a clean install of Win 10 in the future should the current system full over and need re-installing.

    Then there would be the question of how/where you'd get a fully installable iso (legit) to re-install the OS without having to go through the living nightmare that is installing an old image of MS and patching/rebooting for an entire day to get the system up-to-date.

    Or, the other option is to use Acronis and install 8.1 on a new machine/drive and point it at a Win 10 image to restore from - not ever having to actually use my images to restore from, can you upgrade like this? (too lazy to Google it).

    --

    Though, tbh, I'm sure there's enough savvy people, and others (the ones with wooden legs and a part on their shoulder), that will upload installable iso's online in the future anyway.

    Last edited 29/07/15 1:52 pm

      From: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-10/media-creation-tool-install?ocid=ms_wol_win10

      If you upgraded to Windows 10 on this PC by taking advantage of the free upgrade offer and successfully activated Windows 10 on this PC in the past, you won't have a Windows 10 product key, and you can skip the product key page by selecting the Skip button. Your PC will activate online automatically so long as the same edition of Windows 10 was successfully activated on this PC by using the free Windows 10 upgrade offer.

      So if you upgrade your "half-legit" windows 7/8 to Windows 10, then clean install, it should just work by clicking skip in the installer.

      Or you can just upgrade, and then navigate to
      Start, Settings, Update & Security, Recovery, Reset this PC

      That will also clean install windows

      Does this info answer your question?

      Last edited 29/07/15 4:30 pm

        Yes.. and no.

        The 'install and it will auto-magically remember your PC and activate it' makes sense, but where would the key/license be stored? On the HDD? In the BIOS? What if you changed to another HDD/SSD.

        I'm aware of the recovery/reset option, but I'm more interested in the 'I'm moving to another cabinet/tower/changing motherboard or changing HDD' options here. Can you upgrade a motherboard (as I am intending on doing and potentially upgrade my SSD at the same time) and expect to be able to install windows and not have a product key? Or will my Win 8.1 key work as it is this that is being upgraded, or does this key get changed after the upgrade (therefore I could just use 'Recover Key' software and rip it out of encryption.

        Just read the 'If you want to create media for a different PC, select Create installation media for another PC. Use this table to choose the edition of Windows 10 that you want to create media for.' part.

        Assuming that the key would be kept on that...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfUOJ1uYJUo

    Last edited 29/07/15 2:21 pm

    I thought I had a legit version of Windows 8 on my PC but I haven't seen a little Windows icon in my system tray. :(

      You haven't installed all the windows updates yet.

      Go to Control Panel, Click System & Security, Click Windows Update, click Check for Updates

      You must install ALL optional updates as well as the required critical updates.

        Cheers. I'll check it out tonight. I probably do have some optional updates that I ignored because they were for things I don't use.

    I guess I'll click the option tonight when I get home. Won't install tonight. I'll leave that for Friday night. Wife goes away for weekend. CHANGE ALL THE THINGS!!

      Have some beers handy for pain relief. You will need your medicine.

        Why? The Windows 10 upgrade process is painless - once you click start upgrade your pc will restart a few times doing a few hours of work in the meantime and when you come back, you will have windows 10.

          Not sure why you got downvoted for that. The upgrade process was flawless.

      I did that to my wife.

      "Here's your computers, lol"

    For the InfoSec pros out there, specifically working in digital forensics, I have put together a guide on the Windows 10 OS/App evidentiary artefacts.

    http://www.slideshare.net/bsmuir/windows-10-forensics-os-evidentiary-artefacts

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