From Desktops to Phones: Windows 10 Rollout Begins

After much hype and an abundance of testing, Windows 10 -- the latest version of the Microsoft Windows operating system -- begins this week, with release starting July 29. The new OS is scheduled to roll out in phases, going first to Windows Insiders and then being released in waves to users who have made reservations online. Enterprise users will begin seeing Windows 10 on August 1.

Windows 10 will be the "last" version of the operating system. Rather than releasing future upgrades as discrete, numbered generations, Microsoft plans to roll out continuous updates as part of its operating system "as-a-service" model for Windows.

Microsoft says Windows 10 is "the Windows you know, only better." Some key features of Windows 10 include the return of the Start Menu (which Windows 8 eliminated, creating a flood of user complaints); the debut of a new browser -- Microsoft Edge -- to replace Internet Explorer; and advanced integration of Cortana, Microsoft's voice-controlled digital personal assistant.

Windows 10 will also be the first universal version of the OS, meaning that the same code will be used across all Windows devices, from desktop computers and tablets to Windows phones.

8 Was So Bad, No 9 Needed

Underscoring the distance that Microsoft wants to put between the new OS and the previous version is the fact that it's named Windows 10 -- there will be no "9" to succeed the much-hated Windows 8.

According to Microsoft, Windows 10 has been heavily reviewed and tweaked ahead of its release date based on the input of five million Windows Insiders who have been taking multiple pre-release builds for test drives. That's a far cry from the approach Redmond used before launching Windows 8.

"Windows 8 was built in near-secrecy, with few disclosures and no broad public testing program," Al Gillen, program...

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