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Windows 10 Release Date Starting Now: Download Free Upgrade, Price, and Features

( [email protected] ) Jul 29, 2015 08:28 PM EDT
Even though the Windows 10 is now available in stores, users who signed up for the free upgrade will still need to wait. As it turns out, Microsoft will roll out the software in waves following the Windows 10 release date on July 29.
Windows 10 is free, but the November Update is experiencing some problems. Photo: Microsoft

Even though the Windows 10 is now available in stores, users who signed up for the free upgrade will still need to wait. As it turns out, Microsoft will roll out the software in waves following the Windows 10 release date on July 29. This offer is only available to owners of Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7. Presently, Windows 10 is available to users in 190 countries.

Those who have older Windows software will need to pay for their copy of Windows 10. The retail value for the Home Edition is $119.99, while the Pro Edition costs $199.99. Both are available for purchase via the official Microsoft Store. Visitors will need to scroll down.

Downloading the Free Upgrade

Earlier this year, Microsoft sent notices asking Windows 8 and 7 owners to sign-up for the free Windows 10 download. This message was sent directly through a message window that is hidden in the "Get Windows 10" icon on the systems tray.

Those who have not done so already will still have the opportunity to sign-up. Users will have exactly one year from the Windows 10 release date to upgrade. Once the update is ready, Microsoft will automatically send the users a reminder to install Windows 10.

Before installing, users will need to make sure that their computer is compatible with the new software. Minimum requirements include 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM for 32-bit, and 20GB of free space. Those who are downloading the 64-bit version will need at least 2GB RAM.

Lastly, it is absolutely imperative to back up any files deemed irreplaceable such as photos, records and home-movies. If installing on notebook, be sure the device is connected to an electrical outlet. There are reports that Windows 10 takes about 30 minutes to install. Naturally, the length of time is dependent on the condition of the user's computer.

Top Features for Windows 10

The first thing some consumers will notice is that the star menu is back for Windows 10. Both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 did away with the historical feature, which angered longtime Windows users. Happily, Microsoft both listened to and addressed users' complaints.

Also, Windows 10 adds Microsoft's highly-anticipated Cortana personal assistant. The feature was named after the artificial-intelligence character from the Halo videogame series, which Microsoft owns. Cortana can be found either on the icon or full search bar. She can also be accessed via the "Hey Cortana" voice command. Over time, Cortana will become familiar with the users's preference and work schedule. As such, she will offer useful information such as restaurant recommendations and flight schedules.

Another major feature is the added security function "Windows Hello." For the first time, users will not need to user passwords. Instead, the feature integrates Windows OS with fingerprinting sensors and iris scanners. According to TechnoBuffalo, "Windows Hello" cannot be duped using faked photos and other tricks.