Windows 10 release date, features, devices and free upgrade: Windows 10 won’t hit 1 billion devices by 2018 goal

Microsoft blames slower Windows 10 adoption on smartphone strategy

Windows 10 at-a-glance

Windows 10 launched globally on 29 July 2015, with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users, as well as Windows Insiders, all starting to receive their free upgrade to the new OS. Here’s our round-up of everything you need to know about Windows 10.

  • Windows 10 started rolling out on 29 July 2015 as a free upgrade
  • Windows 10 free upgrade ends 29 July 2016 and Anniversary Update launches on 2 August
  • Read our full review of Windows 10 here
  • Enterprise users can manage company-wide rollouts for Windows 10 updates
  • Microsoft Edge replaces Internet Explorer as Windows 10’s default browser
  • If they don’t upgrade within the year, consumers will be charged from £100
  • Android and iOS apps will run on the new OS
  • Windows 10 latest news

  • 18/07/2016: Microsoft will not hit its goal of one billion Windows 10 downloads by July 2018, it has admitted one year after the operating system was released.

    While the OS now runs on 350 million devices, Microsoft has written off its goal with two years still to go because of its troubled smartphone strategy.

    A Microsoft spokesman said in a statement: “Windows 10 is off to the hottest start in history with over 350M monthly active devices, with record customer satisfaction and engagement.

    “We’re pleased with our progress to date, but due to the focusing of our phone hardware business, it will take longer than FY18 for us to reach our goal of 1 billion monthly active devices.”

    Revenue for Microsoft’s phone division fell 46 per cent year-on-year in the three months ending March, and its Windows Phone-running hardware sold just 2.3 million units, a 73 per cent drop.

    Instead, Redmond plans to focus on growing the number of devices running Windows 10 by focusing on enterprise contracts and making the well-received OS more useful to users.

    The spokesman said: “In the year ahead, we are excited about usage growth coming from commercial deployments and new devices – and increasing customer delight with Windows.”

    15/07/2016: Microsoft will roll out its forthcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update in waves, starting from 2 August.

    Dona Sarkar, the new chief of the Windows Insider programme, toldWindows Weekly (via Digital Trends) that Microsoft is looking into different ways of delivering updates.

    Currently, when fresh Windows 10 builds are dispatched to Windows Insiders, they request a full re-installation, but leave files and programs untouched.

    “There are many ways to do it,” said Sarker, responding to a question about releasing incremental Insider updates instead of full installs.

    “So we’re trying a lot of different things in-house to see what makes sense for PC versus phone, what makes sense for Fast Ring versus Slow Ring. In terms of what we were working on last week, it was a little bit of that, but also we don’t ship a build unless we know we can upgrade from that build to the next build without any issues.”

    From there, Sarker explained that Windows Anniversary Update will be handled in waves next month.

    “It’s going take some time,” she said. “We’ll start with PC and phone, and it’s going to be a global rollout… it’s going to take a little while to roll out to everybody. Xbox and HoloLens… those come at different times since the end device is just separate.”

    14/07/2016: Windows 10 can save businesses $404 per user, according to an independent analysis of the benefits of deploying Microsoft’s new operating systems.

    Analyst house Forrester drew up a scenario for a hypothetical business deploying the OS for 20,000 employees (based on four real firms it looked at that are doing so), calculating the costs and savings over a three-year period.

    Forrester assumed the hypothetical organisation was not spending money on licenses, because they would be covered under a volume licensing agreement, giving the business a spend of $4.3 million on deploying Windows 10.

    Over three years, Windows 10 would save the company $12.4 million, giving an overall saving of $8.1 million, according to the analyst house, a 188 per cent return on investment.

    Those savings were sourced in several ways, but mainly through improved end user productivity – saving between $982,800 and $3.12 million per year.

    Forrester said: “Employees, especially mobile workers, estimate they can take advantage of 25% of time previously unavailable for work, enabling them to get more done more quickly wherever they may be.”

    Costs were evenly split between planning and implementation (up to $1,646,190 per year) and later rollouts (up to $1,507,013 per year), with a small amount spent on ongoing task management.

    You can read the full study here.

    13/07/2016: Microsoft has announced pricing for a new tier of Windows 10 aimed at making the operating system more affordable for enterprise customers.

    Windows 10 Enterprise E3 with be priced at $7 (approximately £5.30) per seat, per month.

    The service is essentially the existing Windows 10 Enterprise, with its security and management capabilities, delivered through Microsoft’s Cloud Service Provider (CSP) infrastructure.

    “In most instances, organisations are moving quickly to Windows 10 due to the heightened security risks they face and the industry-leading security features in Windows 10 that can help protect them. Companies of all sizes face real security threats from sophisticated hackers and cyber-terrorists, costing an average of $12 million an incident,” explained Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the Windows and devices group at Microsoft.

    “CSP partners will be able to provide a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition as part of a managed service offering, which is ideal for businesses who do not have dedicated IT resources or limited IT staff, and want their licensing and IT needs managed by a trusted and experienced partner.”

    Microsoft will also be offering an enhanced subscription to businesses via CSP, in the form of Windows 10 Enterprise E5. This service will supply more features, including Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection. Pricing for this tier has not yet been revealed, but it will be more costly than the E3 service.

    As well as offering Windows 10 to businesses in its new cloud packages, Microsoft will also be giving its partners the options to supply Surface devices to businesses. Registered Cloud Solution Providers, who are also Surface Authorized Distributors, can offer Surface devices through a managed service offering to resellers and customers. Microsoft said this will gives businesses access to the latest Surface devices to used alongside their current versions of Windows and Office.

    More on these announcements, which coincide with Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference, can be found here.

    12/07/2016: Microsoft’s decision to end free Windows 10 upgrades on 29 July might boost falling sales of PCs, it is believed.

    The market has been in decline for years, though analyst house IDC spotted that sales in the second quarter of 2016 fell three per cent less than expected.

    Instead of dropping 7.4 per cent as predicted compared to the same period last year, PC unit sales declined just 4.5 per cent to 62.4 million units.

    The better-than-expected results might improve in the second half of 2016 thanks to Microsoft starting to charge £99 and £130 for Windows 10 upgrades from 29 July, too.

    “The expiration of free Windows 10 upgrades may transition some users into buying new systems rather than updating older ones,” IDC explained. “Commercial evaluations of Windows 10 remain healthy and a near-term driver that could also be contributing to the relative strength in U.S. shipments.

    However, that doesn’t mean PCs will recover completely from the advent of smartphones and tablets eating into its market share.

    IDC’s VP of worldwide PC trackers, Loren Loverde, said: “It’s not dramatic growth, but it could push the market into positive territory slightly ahead of our forecast for 2018.”

    11/07/2016: Microsoft is checking the final code ahead of the launch of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

    Redmond has also previewed build version 14383 of Windows 10 Anniversary for Windows Insiders on the fast ring, with the launch of the anniversary edition imminent.

    “This is because we’re beginning to check in final code,” engineer Donar Sarkar said in a blog post.

    The update brings a host of new bug fixes and minor changes, including the loss of the desktop watermark, a direct link to the Extensions pane in Microsoft Edge and new keyboard shortcuts to improve the Cortana experience.

    Additionally, Microsoft said updates to the Quick Action area of Action Center will be preserved across upgrades from now on.

    A list of fixes on both PC and mobile were also listed, including rectifying screen orientation confusion on the Surface Book when an external monitor is connected, issues with some Bluetooth mice behaving erratically and Microsoft Edge compatibility issues with LastPass.

    However, the company said this isn’t the end of updates before the final build is released generally on 2 August. “We’re not finished yet and will have more builds to release to Windows Insiders between now and then. Remember you guys play a big role in helping us decide which are the final *final* bits that we ship globally,” Sarkar said.

    07/07/2016: Microsoft is planning to strong-arm businesses into upgrading to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, by gating off access to forthcoming client-side virtualization tools.

    The company announced earlier this week that users will no longer have to separately download and deploy instances of Application Virtualisation (App-V) and User Environment Virtualisation (UE-V).

    Instead, they will be included with Windows 10 following the Anniversary Update, and will require no additional deployment or maintenance outside of the regular Windows update procedure.

    However, they will only be available in licensed Enterprise or Education Edition deployments. Anyone currently running a Windows 10 Professional deployment or earlier will need to upgrade.

    “Direct upgrades to the Pro SKU will result in App-V and UE-V binaries to be removed during the OS migration process,” the Tech Net blog post read.

    Comprising two of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack’s key components, App-V and UE-V are used respectively to stream applications to systems without requiring local installation, and to allow users to move between endpoints whilst retaining the same OS image and settings.

    The announcement comes just ahead of the 29 July cut-off date for the free Windows 10 upgrade and the attendant nagging pop-ups.

    Microsoft will presumably want to get as many people upgraded as possible before this happens, and the upgrade becomes more difficult to sell.

    06/07/2016: From Minority Report to CSI, futuristic touch-screen furniture has caught the imagination of tech companies, which have pitched interactive tables and display boards at trade shows for years.

    Now French company Kineti has decided the place customers really deserve to interact with Windows 10 is in the form of a fashionably tailored coffee table.

    The coffee table, called ‘La Table Kineti’, has been shaped from veneered wood and aluminium, and has a full HD (1920×1080) 42in display as its surface, which supports up to 12 multi-touch points.

    The table’s built-in Windows 10 computer includes an Intel Core i5 processor, Intel HD 6000 graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 120GB SSD, a single USB 3.0 port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

    Kineit claims La Table’s waterproof, tempered glass surface is “unbreakable”, just in case you’re anxious an accidental spillage could cause your precious computer-cum-coffee table to short circuit.

    However, having coffee table and Cortana in one does not come cheap: the table costs £4,260 (€4,997.00), minus shipping.

    On the other hand, the cost is lower significantly lower than the enterprise-focused €12,000 Kapsch Interactive 40 table-PC, as noted, which spotted the table.

    Windows-powered tables have been in production for several years. Microsoft’s own ‘Windows table’ was originally known as the Microsoft Surface, before being renamed PixelSense.

    04/07/2016: People who have not yet upgraded to Windows 10 are now being greeted with a full-screen pop-up reminder in Microsoft’s final push before the free update period comes to an end, the Telegraphreports.

    This is Microsoft’s latest move to get people to install the new version of Windows on their PC, with many complaining that previous reminders are annoying, misleading or that Windows 10 is being installed automatically in some cases.

    It comes after Redmond promised to change the way it presents upgrade notifications, after listing it as a ‘recommended’ upgrade, something normally reserved for critical security updates, and scheduling in upgrade times for users who dismissed the notifications by clicking the ‘x’ in the right-hand corner.

    The free update period ends on 29 July, and it seems that users still resisting the update will continue to see the full-screen message until the end of the month unless they select the “Do not notify me again” option in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

    30/06/2016: More than 350 million devices are now running Windows 10, according to figures from Microsoft, with the company claiming it has the highest reported customer satisfaction of any Windows operating system.

    As well as celebrating the successes of Windows 10, which include more than 135 billion hours of use of the OS since it launched, Microsoft has also taken the opportunity to finally announce when its Anniversary Update will arrive: 2 August, 2016, when the OS is one year and four days old.

    The update will include “feautres that bring Windows Ink and Cortana to the mainstream; a faster, more accessible and more power-efficient Microsoft Edge browser; advanced security features for consumers and enterprises; new gaming experiences and new tools for the modern classroom,” according to a blog post by Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP or the Windows and Devices group at Microsoft.

    Anniversary Update will be available for free to existing Windows 10 users, however there is now less than a month for people to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8/8.1 to Windows 10. After this time it will cost £100 to upgrade.

    29/06/2016: With one month to go before the end of Windows 10 free upgrade, Microsoft has promised to change its upgrade notifications after many complaints that they are confusing.

    As Redmond tries to spur adoption of its new operating system, it recently changed how it presents the upgrade to users, calling it a ‘Recommended Update’, a status usually only given to important security updates.

    If people clicked on the ‘x’ in the right-hand corner, they would exit the notification, but the action would also schedule an update to Windows 10 for a later date.

    A travel agent whose computer slowed to a standstill when the update automatically downloaded onto her computer won against Microsoft in court, claiming she had lost business as a result of the upgrade, receiving a payment of $10,000.

    Now, Microsoft plans to offer people clearer upgrade notifications starting this week, according to its executive VP of Windows and Devices, Terry Myerson.

    In a statement published by ZDNet, he said: “The new experience has clearer options to upgrade now, choose a time, or decline the free offer. If the red-x is selected on this new dialog, it will dismiss the dialog box and we will notify the device again in a few days.

    “We continue to recommend all of our customers upgrade to Windows 10 before the free upgrade offer expires on July 29. Thousands of engineers have been working on making Windows 10 the most secure version of Windows, helping to protect people from viruses, phishing, identity theft and more. We’d like our customers to upgrade and improve their experience with Windows and Microsoft.”

    28/06/2016: A travel agent has successfully sued Microsoft for $10,000 after an unauthorised Windows 10 update left her PC useless.

    Teri Goldstein from Sausalito, California, sued Microsoft saying she did not give the go-ahead for Microsoft to upgrade her computer, but it mysteriously appeared and made the machine slow to a crawl, while other days it did not work at all.

    Although the upgrade happened before Microsoft started using forceful tactics to try to encourage users to upgrade their computer, Goldstein insists she did not give permission.

    “I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein said. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”

    After she started having problems with her computer’s speed, she contacted Microsoft’s support services, which also failed to rectify the issue.

    She then decided to pursue the company in court, claiming she lost business because her computer was inactive. She also insisted Microsoft bought her a new PC.

    However, Microsoft denied wrongdoing, although it decided not to appeal just in case it was told to pay even more than the agreed $10,000.

    “We’re continuing to listen to customer feedback and evolve the upgrade experience based on their feedback,” Microsoft said in a statement.

    27/06/2016: SnapChat is making its way to Windows Phone 10, according to a tweet from Microsoft’s Spanish language support account.

    Rodolfo Galán asked Lumia Soporte: “Why can’t I install Snapchat? It’s not in the Windows Store”, to which the support page responded: “It’s coming to your Windows Phone soon! We are already working with our friends at Snapchat to release it as soon as possible ^_^”.

    Unfortunately, “as soon as possible” doesn’t really give any indication as to the likely timeline. Windows Phone users have been hankering for an official app for at least three years, when Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel told someone asking for an official version of the app that he “didn’t think anyone used those”.

    Then, in 2014, all non-official Snapchat apps were removed from the Windows store, which led some to believe an official app may be on its way, but none has been forthcoming.

    IT Pro has contacted Snapchat for confirmation of Lumia Soporte’s statement, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

    24/06/2016: Roku has launched a new app exclusive to Windows 10 PCs and tablets. The free app has a new homepage, which Roku said will enable users to “get to … [their] favourite streaming entertainment content quickly and easily”.

    “The new Homepage provides you with quick access to your ‘My Channels’ list and surfaces content available on Roku. With more and more Windows 10 devices supporting both point-and-click, as well as gesture navigation, browsing these lists can be accomplished with a simple swipe or click to bring te next page of content to the front,” said Roku in a blog post.

    The new app also has a complete list of My Channels in addition to the classic remote and also features Cortana integration, which can be used with the “Hey Cortana” voice search function.

    In addition to Roku, Crunchyroll, a streaming service specialising in Japanese Anime, has also launched a new, free Windows 10 app, which also has Cortana integration, as has music and voice streaming service SiriusXM.

    23/06/2016: Soon you’ll be able to enjoy Windows 10 without all the bloatware, when Microsoft introduces a new tool designed to remove it.

    Currently in preview, Refresh Windows 10, also called Start Fresh (viaWindows Central), helps you delete bloatware to run Windows 10 without all the default add-ons.

    Bloatware is an unpopular but necessary evil for Microsoft, with the software giant relying on partners like Dell to ship its operating system on their devices. These partners often add their own software on top of the operating system, and it is typically hard to remove.

    However, bloatware has also become less popular with the discovery that Lenovo devices were running Superfish bloatware that left users vulnerable to hackers.

    17/06/2016: Microsoft has rolled out its latest Windows Insider Build for PC and mobile to users in its fast ring.

    Preview build 14367 contains a number of new feature updates and improvements, including an easier way to do a clean install of Windows 10.

    There are new keyboard shortcuts for Feedback Hub, which allows users to send their thoughts on their Windows 10 experience to Microsoft.

    Windows 10’s handwriting recognition software has received support for 23 new languages, including Indonesian, Malay, and, for the first time, African languages, such as Swahili, Xhosa and Zulu.

    It has also created a tool that enables users to do a clean install of Windows 10. More information on that app can be found on theMicrosoft Community pages.

    Along with these updates, there are also performance tweaks and bug fixes.

    Some of these include making cross-device notifications more reliable and fixing issues with Cortana’s search results.

    More information on the Windows 10 Insider Preview build 14367 can be found here.

    07/06/2016: Microsoft has defended its insistent Windows 10 upgrade tactics following renewed uproar and petitions condemning the company alleged “forced” automatic update.

    Microsoft had previously been accused of not giving users consent over whether to upgrade to Windows 10 in March when users took to Twitter and Reddit to complain about their system’s allegedly automatically updating. Then users complained that Microsoft “hide” the decline option behind further information on their upgrade pop-up window.

    Last month, stories about further aggressive tactics surfaced. Users reported that they had the ‘x’ button to decline the update, only for the update to begin soon after. This apparent refusal to allow users of Windows 7 or 8 to decline the update has been described as “forceful” and “malicious”.

    Microsoft has fought back against allegations about its Windows 10 upgrade approach.

    Microsoft said: “The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice – designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows. People receive multiple notifications to accept the upgrade, and can reschedule or cancel the upgrade if they wish.”

    Addressing the issue of the dud cancellation buttons, Microsoft also toldZDNet that that upgrade reminder only appears when a user has accepted the initial Windows 10 upgrade offer. Still, ways to step back from the upgrade track if a user changes their mind are still not straightforward.

    Disgruntled Windows users, displeased by Microsoft’s approach to Windows 10, has started a petition for the company to be investigated on, which had gained 1,800 signatures at the time of publishing.

    Microsoft is due to release its Redstone update for Window 10 month, so it will be considering how best to continue its upgrade strategy in its bid to reach a 300 million install base for its latest OS.

    02/06/2016: Microsoft has announced its latest Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build, and includes it new cross-device notification features, Cortana improvements and additional performance fixes.

    Microsoft had previously announced that better notification integration would be on the way for Windows 10 devices, and mobile build 14356 now allows users to get mobile notifications direct to their Windows 10 PC.

    Virtual assistant, Cortana, will now surface users’ phone notifications and critical alerts, from messaging services, SMS or social media, along with missed calls from any Windows 10 phone or Android device to your PC.

    Microsoft notes that some functions may not yet be available. Android users will also require Cortana version 1.7.1 installed.

    As well as messages, users can now forward photos from their phone directly to their PC wirelessly. Users simply have to ask Cortana to “send this photo to my PC”. This feature is currently exclusive to Windows Phone.

    The listening animation for Cortana has also been changing to give it more visual appeal.

    Also in mobile build 14356, there are also a score of performance fixes. These include fixes for battery level display icon, high battery use by the Microsoft Health app, and the Glance screen not updating accurately, among others.

    See more on Windows 10 Mobile Preview build on the Windows blog.

    Alongside this news, Microsoft also announced a change in leadership to its Windows Insider programme. The programme initial leader, Gabe Aul, now corporate vice president of Microsoft’s engineering systems team, has passed on leadership duties to Microsoft software engineer Dona Sarker.

    Earlier this week, Microsoft also rolled out the same preview build for the desktop version of Windows 10. You can see more about that build here.

    31/05/2016: A Microsoft employee has revealed the latest Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build could be launching today. Peter Skillman tweeted out a blog post announcing the release of the latest desktop version of Windows 10 Insider Preview (build 14352), with the added comment:  “Mostly bug fixes/polish things from us. Phone 14352 postponed until Tuesday.”

    The blog post lists the changes in the latest version of Windows 10, which include new commands for Cortana that allow the personal assistant to play your music and set timers. The new commands also allow you to query how much time is left on a timer set through Cortana and cancel it using natural language.

    Other updates relate to Windows Ink, such as updated sticky notes and a compass added to the ruler, while the feedback hub will soon show Microsoft responses. Smaller updates include a new folder icon and an update to Windows Enterprise edition, making it much simpler to update machines.

    Windows phone 10 build 14352 was originally supposed to be launching on 26 May alongside the desktop build, but it was apparently delayed while Microsoft ironed out a few final bugs.

    25/05/2016: Microsoft has performed a U-turn on its controversial Windows 10 upgrade notifications that were tricking people into downloading the operating system.

    The tech giant has now decided to change its policy following customer feedback, with one critic describing the ploy to garner more Windows 10 users as a “nasty trick”.

    Redmond had revamped its Windows 10 upgrade notifications so that, when users clicked on the ‘x’ in the corner of the pop-up to dismiss it, it also sent a message to the company that the user had requested a software download, and would schedule one in.

    PC World called out Microsoft for employing the tactic, saying it was a cynical attempt to add to the 300 million devices now running Windows 10.

    A Microsoft spokesperson told the BBC: “We’ve added another notification that confirms the time of the scheduled upgrade and provides the customer [with] an additional opportunity for cancelling or rescheduling the upgrade.

    “If the customer wishes to continue with their upgrade at the designated time, they can click ‘OK’ or close the notifications with no further action needed.”

    24/05/2016: Microsoft is tricking people into upgrading to Windows 10 with its pop-up notifications, it is claimed.

    For months, Redmond has been pushing users into downloading its new operating system via a barrage of notifications, which users could dismiss by clicking the ‘x’ in the corner of the box.

    It has seen success with this strategy, recently boasting that Windows 10 is running on 300 million devices.

    However, Microsoft now wants to employ dirtier tactics to increase its user base even further, according to PC World.

    When people click ‘x’ to dismiss the new Windows 10 upgrade notifications, it actually sends a message to Microsoft that they want to install the operating system – and the users are not even notified about it.

    23/05/2016: Windows 10 users will be able to switch between Internet Explorer 11 and Edge and back without interruption with the platform’s Anniversary update, Microsoft has revealed.

    Microsoft explained the feature has been introduced to appease business users – the only group of people it expects would use the older browser.

    “We recognise that some enterprise customers have line-of-business applications built specifically for older web technologies, which require Internet Explorer 11,” the company said.

    The changes will replace Enterprise Mode in Windows 10, which allowed IT staff to limit IE 11’s usage to certain applications that only worked on the browser.

    At the moment, anyone switching from Edge to IE 11 when opening a page not supported in the newer web browser is presented with a message explaining Edge will switch to the legacy browser before loading up. The change means IE 11 will now open without pausing or displaying a message, making the transition smoother.

    Microsoft also revealed its plans to launch a new group policy for IE 11, which will block users from accessing web pages via IE 11, unless they appear on the whitelist.

    19/05/2016: Android users will now be able to see notifications from their phones and tablets on a Windows 10 desktop.

    The latest version the Cortana for Android app brings the app notification synchronisation feature that users have been asking for a long time.

    The feature was noticed by a Reddit user and could be part of the Windows 10 Anniversary update due this summer.

    According to the Reddit thread, version of Cortana for Android adds Android notifications on Windows.

    With Cortana for Android, users can see calls they have missed and will be able to respond to messages without having to change devices.

    17/05/2016: Web notifications for the Microsoft Edge browser are to be included as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

    A preview has been rolled out to the newest Insider Build of Windows 10, and Microsoft has detailed the feature on its developer blog.

    Web notifications alert users to updates and activity from contacts and websites they use. These can take the form of message previews, news alerts and download completion alerts.

    To keep the notifications consistent with other Windows 10 desktop furniture, the Edge notifications will utilise the Notification Platform. When a user clicks or taps a notification, they will be then be redirected to the source of the notification within the Edge browser.

  • Users have taken to social media to complain that the OS upgrade has been forced on them. One Reddit thread has had over 3,000 comments about the update.

    In a statement, Microsoft said: “as we shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. As stated in that post, we have updated the upgrade experience to make it easier for customers to schedule a time for their upgrade to take place.

    “Customers continue to be fully in control of their devices, and can choose to not install the Windows 10 upgrade or remove the upgrade from Windows Update by changing the Windows Update settings.”

    It added that reports that Windows 10 was being forced on users were “not accurate”.

    10/03/2016: While the main release of Windows 10 Redstone may not be coming until June, Windows Insiders may be about to get a look at one of its key features – extension support for Edge.

    Windows 10 build 14284 will be the first Redstone release for Insiders and will include support for Edge extension support, according toWinBeta. The website claims the release is just days or weeks away, according to its sources, and will land ahead of the company’s Build conference, which starts on 30 March.

    08/03/2016: Microsoft has pushed back a planned Windows 10 upgrade that was due later this year, apparently to ensure a new swathe of devices run it out-of-the-box.

    The Redstone 2 update was set for release in November, but now will not come out until spring 2017, Winbeta revealed last week.

    While Windows 10 is the last operating system Microsoft says it will produce, it does bundle new features together in regular updates throughout the year.

    Redstone 1 is due to land in June and succeeds the last major update, ‘Threshold 2’, which rolled out in November last year.

    ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley followed up this week to say that anonymous sources told her the delay is to ensure a new wave of Windows 10 devices run the latest version of the operating system.

    01/03/2016: Windows 10 adoption continued to grow in February, running on 14.86 per cent of desktop PCs by the end of the month.

    However, that is only 1.21 per cent higher than its usage in January, after growing by just 1.78 per cent between December and January, according to figures recorded by StatCounter.

    Windows 7 remains the dominant desktop operating system, the research site revealed, with its adoption declining by less than one per cent from January to stand at 46 per cent last month.

    Other declining Microsoft OSes include Windows 8.1, whose share of desktops fell to just 11.43 per cent in February, while XP, support for which expired in April 2014, dropped to 7.61 per cent of the market.

    Microsoft claims Windows 10 now runs on more than 200 million devices though HP Inc CEO Dion Weisler blamed the OS for the vendor’s falling PC sales in the three months to December 2015.

    26/02/2016: Windows Universal Apps will soon be coming to the Xbox One, Microsoft has revealed.

    CEO Satya Nadella confirmed the news in front of an audience of developers at Madrid’s dotNet conference, according to Spanish siteMicrosoft Insider.

    While Nadella refused to specify when the new apps would be arriving, many have speculated that they will come as part of Xbox’s major update, due out in the Summer.

    The focus is likely to be on social and entertainment apps like Twitter and Netflix, rather than Microsoft’s Office apps.

    However, the announcement that the company is bringing mouse support to the console could mean that traditional productivity apps are still on the way.

    22/02/2016: Online piracy could be helping raise Windows’ market share, it has been reported.

    Without the presence of high-quality copies of Microsoft’s latest OS available for download online, the number of people using Linux would rise 50-65 per cent, a paper by Norwegian economics researcher Arne Rogde Gramstad proposes. This would mean Linux would have an average 1.5-1.65 per cent usage share, as opposed to the 1 per cent it has now.

    In contrast, if piracy were to increase by one per cent in an average country, Linux would lose around 0.5 per cent of its market share, the report said.

    It is currently free to upgrade a machine running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, and will be for until summer 2016. After this, UK users will need to pay a license fee of £100.

    Windows 10 Mobile also made a surprise appearance at MWC 2016 with the HP Elite X3, which is aimed specifically at business users and can become a laptop when paired with a Mobile Extender dock.

    18/02/2016: Microsoft has rolled out its latest system update for Windows 10 Mobile devices, which includes Bluetooth connectivity improvements and tweaks to Microsoft Edge.

    Besides its standard stability improvements, update 10.0.10586.107features Bluetooth connectivity improvements for cars and other accessories, improvements to PDF rendering and navigation in the Microsoft Edge browser, and more accurate battery usage with Iris Recognition for Windows Hello.

    The latest rollout also changes the update process, requiring phones to be plugged in when downloading and preparing software updates.

    Microsoft has used the opportunity to issue fixes for errors identified in Outlook and BitLocker Recovery, too, as well as patching a bug causing some phones to suffer from extended download periods.

    To manually check for updates on your Windows 10 Mobile, tap Settings > Update & security > Phone update > Check for updates.

    15/02/2016: Hulu has launched its first universal app for Windows 10, allowing users to view the video streaming service on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

    The new universal Hulu app also features built-in voice support via Cortana, giving users the ability to navigate by voice commands, such as “Hulu watch the latest episode of Empire” or “Hulu add Family Guy to queue”.

    Hulu was previously available on Windows 10 for PCs, 8.1 for tablets as well as for Windows Phone 8 handsets. But today’s update adheres to the standards of Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform and means that the same app works across devices, adapting as necessary.

    Microsoft’s UWP includes the firm’s games console, Xbox One, but Hulu has not included support for it in this initial release.

    The Hulu streaming service is currently only available only available in the US and Japan. The company had planned to launch in the UK and Ireland in September 2009, but a lack of contracts led it to postpone the roll out. Since then, rival service Netflix has dwarfed Hulu’s modest subscribers base, which is just under nine million.

    IT Pro has contacted Hulu for an update on the service’s UK availability.

    02/02/2016: Windows 10 will now be downloaded to all Windows 7 and 8 computers where the user has specified for updates to be applied automatically. However, the user will still be asked whether they want the update to be installed before Microsoft takes charge of their machine and overwrites older versions of the operating system.

    The change has occurred following Microsoft’s decision to switch the update from optional to recommended, meaning it’s a better bet if you want to keep your computer safeguarded against current and future security risks.

    However, if you’ve accepted Microsoft’s recommendation and aren’t happy with the update, you do have 31 days to roll back to your older version of the operating system.

    Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and devices group, said: “If you are on a metered connection on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, then you have the option of turning off automatic updates. We strongly discourage this in today’s connected world because of the constant risk of internet threats.”

    02/01/2016: Windows 10 now runs on more desktop PCs than Windows 8.1 and Windows XP, the latest figures show.

    Microsoft’s final operating system is running on 11.85 per cent of the world’s desktops, according to research group NetMarketShare.

    Its figure is an improvement on the 9.96 per cent it recorded in December 2015, despite PC sales plunging at the end of last year.

    Both 8.1 and XP were beating Windows 10 in December, holding 10.3 per cent and 10.9 per cent of the market respectively, but fell below Windows 10 last month, with 8.1 growing by just 0.1 per cent.

    XP, meanwhile, increased its hold by half a per cent to reach 11.42 per cent of the market, despite Microsoft killing support for the aged operating system in April 2014.

    Microsoft claims Windows 10 is running on more than 200 million devices.

    28/01/2016: Microsoft has updated its Xbox beta app for Windows 10 with new social features that bring its functionality closer to the experience offered by its games console, Xbox One.

    There are six key features on the way to the app this month, which include: access to the new Avatar Store, the Xbox News tab, improvements to the Trending tab, a Suggested Friends tab, tweaks to the activity feed, and additional functions in the compact mode for the app.

    The return of Avatars, which made their debut on the Xbox 360 in 2008, will be cause enough for some to celebrate. These virtual caricatures, designed by Microsoft’s UK studio, Rare, offered users a way to express themselves through facial expressions, hair styles and clothing on the 360, but disappeared completely with the launch of the Xbox One in 2013.

    Elsewhere, users will be able to see a shortlist of friend suggestions, in any scenario, in relation to the games they’ve played. The main Activity Feed will also display content from the Trending page and friend suggestions.

    The Xbox Beta app launched last September as means for Microsoft to preview updates and collect feedback on new features before they are released to the general public on the full Xbox app for Windows 10.

    Microsoft’s tentative embrace of gaming on its latest operating system has gradually been getting more serious. In July 2015, the company released the ability to home stream between Xbox One and PC.

    26/01/2016: A new Windows 10 Mobile Insider build, 10586.71, has started to roll out to those enrolled in the Fast Ring of the programme, according to reports.

    Italian website Aggiornamenti Lumia first spotted the coming update on Sunday, which was allegedly leaked to the site from Microsoft’s internal servers by an unnamed source, claiming it would roll out on Tuesday.

    Windows Central also said it has seen some evidence confirming the cumulative update has started to roll out, although it seems to be limited to the Lumia 950XL at this time.

    Unusually, however, there is currently no word from Microsoft as to what this update contains.

    25/01/2016: Microsoft is giving its personal assistant, Cortana, access to more email and calendar data to make it better at everyday scheduling.

    Microsoft Research has helped Cortana improve to the point that it can remind users of meetings and commitments made based on email conversations.

    It can also let them know about any meeting requests that are outside of their usual schedule, according to Microsoft’s group programme manager for Cortana, Marcus Ash.

    “As we look forward, we will continue to invest in areas that truly reflect the capabilities of a real-life assistant, like proactively reminding you about the things you have to do without you even asking, getting you to a meeting on time or helping to track and manage your calendar,” he added.

    “We’re incredibly excited about the possibilities with Cortana. As we look at what a real-life personal assistant can do, we know we’re just scratching the surface of how Cortana can help you be more productive.”

    20/01/2016: A recent report by Adaptiva has revealed that 63 per cent of enterprises are planning to move their systems to Windows 10 by the end of this year and 40 per cent of IT decision makers have already moved at least half their services to the operating system.

    This rush to the latest version of Windows has caused heightened demand for the Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager 2016 (ConfigMgr 2016), Adaptiva explained and almost two-thirds of those asked said deployment, updating, and management of Windows 10 was their biggest reason for choosing to upgrade from ConfigMgr 2012 to ConfigMgr 2016.

    With news that Windows 10 service branch updates will not be supported in the older version of ConfigMgr, 86 per cent of companies said they were motivated to upgrade their systems in advance of the switch off.

    “The survey results underscore the surge in Windows 10 interest we are seeing from enterprises as well as the concerns they have about keeping pace with the frequent updates,” said Jim Souders, chief operating officer at Adaptiva.

    “The new Microsoft ConfigMgr and Windows 10 releases are ushering in a need for a more automated, intelligent approach to systems management that reduces the time and complexity necessary to keep software and systems secure and up to date.”

    18/01/2016: An amendment to Microsoft’s Windows support policy removes support for older versions of Windows on the latest PC hardware.

    This will prevent users from downgrading to Windows 7 or 8.1 on the latest Intel Core processors, such as Skylake. It will also cause trouble for enterprises that rely on hardware, old or new, to run previous versions of Windows for business purposes.

    In an announcement about its new support policy, Microsoft argued that redesigning Windows 7 subsystems for new generations of silicon processors would “introduce churn into the Windows 7 code base”.

    New silicon generation chips are on the way, and Microsoft said Windows 10 will be “the only supported Windows platform” on the upcoming Intel Kaby Lake, Qualcomm 8996 and AMD Bristol Ridge silicon processors.

    Microsoft has promised to continue to support Windows 7 for security, reliability and compatibility through to 14 January 2020 on previous generation silicon chips. Windows 8.1 will receive the same support until 10 January 2023.

    Users upgrading to selected Skylake devices this year will be able to downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1 during a limited 18-month support period.

    But Microsoft’s decision to remove the compatibility of its legacy operating systems will cause concern for many of its enterprise customers.

    13/01/2016: Microsoft released its first batch of security and stability updates for Windows 10 yesterday.

    Among the updates is a patch for a significant flaw in Remote Desktop Server for Windows 10 that could allow a malicious user to remotely log into password-less accounts.

    This round of patches also included the final set of security updates for Internet Explorer, which Microsoft ceased development on this week.

    In addition, Microsoft’s Windows 10-based IoT and mobile OS have also been updated.

    Meanwhile, HTC has confirmed that HTC 8X users will not receive the Windows 10 Mobile update for their devices. The update is due to roll out for other Windows Phone 8 handsets, however.

    11/01/2016: A Microsoft enthusiast has tweaked the appearance of the company’s Windows 10 Mobile user interface, improving it with a number of changes he made in a proposed redesign.

    The designer, Robson Jobs, started by making the tiles larger, and transparent, but the biggest change to Redmond’s own design might be his interactive tiles. Users would be able to slide the tile to read more news in a news app, stop playing a song, or skip to another song.

    Before and after: Microsoft’s design, vs Jobs’ revamped transparent tiles

    He also overhauled the Action Center, getting rid of the opaque background and including widgets for media playback, before changing the multitasking view to get rid of a 4×4 display of open apps, to an iOS-like display of one app at a time, with the user dragging left or right to see what else is open.

    All his proposals can be seen here.

    08/01/2016: Microsoft is currently developing a SIM that lets Windows 10 users hook into a national data network.

    The card, news of which was first unveiled by TheNextWeb, would connect via an app already available in the Microsoft store to a data network, the publication reported.

    While the Cellular Data app is free, users will have to pay for the network connection using their Microsoft account information, the app description reads.

    But this means they would not be tied into a fixed contract with a mobile carrier, simply buying and using data as they need it.

    It is not clear which markets this service will be available in, but domestic plans will be available first before international roaming is introduced.

    05/01/2016: Windows 10 is now running on more than 200 million devices, according to Microsoft.

    Redmond claimed the new figure is evidence of an accelerating adoption rate, saying 40 per cent of these devices moved to its latest operating system after Black Friday, in November 2015.

    Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, said Windows 10 boasts the fastest growth trajectory of any release of the operating system, 140 per cent faster than Windows 7 and nearly 400 per cent quicker than 8.

    He added: “We are also seeing accelerating and unprecedented demand for Windows 10 among enterprise and education customers.

    “As of today, more than 76 per cent of our enterprise customers are in active pilots of Windows 10, and we now have over 22 million devices running Windows 10 across enterprise and education customers.”

    In terms of time, people spent 11 billion hours on Windows 10 in December, Mehdi claimed.

    Breaking that down into Windows 10’s specific programmes, people used the Edge browser for a cumulative 44.5 billion minutes, according to Redmond, and viewed 82 billion photos in the Photo app.

    Voice assistant Cortana, meanwhile, has answered 2.5 billion questions from Windows 10 users.

    04/01/2016: Microsoft could roll out Windows 10 Mobile as early as 12 January, it is claimed.

    The rumour comes from NokiaPowerUser, later reported by Neowin, citing an anonymous source who claims Microsoft will make some announcements around Windows 10 Mobile on that date.

    The story appeared on the same day as a telling tweet from Microsoft’s Lumia Help Twitter account, which said: “Win 10 Mobile will become available soon. Lumia 950 & 950 XL ship with Win 10, w/ additional devices to follow shortly.”

    Redmond is allegedly preparing to roll out Windows 10 Mobile to older devices running 8.1, according to Neowin, which said it is not sure whether carriers must approve this upgrade or not.

    Windows 10 growth is slowing, according to software statistics tracker Net Applications (reported by International Business Times), which found that the number of devices running the operating system grew just 1.1 per cent between November and December 2015, a decrease of 0.2 per cent on October to November’s stats.

    18/12/2015: Microsoft is to produce a version of Windows 10 especially for the Chinese government. The customised version will include “government approved” anti-virus and use Baidu instead of Bing as a search engine and Chinese-selected antivirus software.

    In a blog post, Microsoft said that it had set up a new joint venture to “license, deploy, manage and optimize Windows 10 for China’s government agencies and certain state-owned enterprises and provide ongoing support and services for these customers.”

    “The new joint venture which is subject to regulatory approval in China and is provisionally called C&M Information Technologies, will be based in Beijing and will serve government agencies, as well as state-owned enterprises in key infrastructure fields such as energy, telecommunications, and transportation.”

    It now looks like Windows 10 will not be pushed to existing Windows Phone 8.1 devices in December. The date for the upgrade has now been pushed back until January.

    “This November we introduced Windows 10 to phones including brand new features such as Continuum and Universal Windows Apps with the introduction of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. The Windows 10 Mobile upgrade will begin rolling out early next year to select existing Windows 8 and 8.1 phones,” said a Microsoft spokesman in a statement to Thurrott.

    Microsoft still plans to bring Windows 10 Mobile to the following devices – Lumia 430, 435, 532, 535, 540, 635 (1GB), 640, 640 XL, 735, 830, 930. At present, only Microsoft’s Lumia 950 and the 950 XL sport the updated mobile OS.

    14/12/2015: Rumours have begun to emerge that the release ofWindows 10 Redstone – the major 2016 update to Microsoft’s latest operating system – will be coming to Windows Phone 10 Insiders imminently.

    The build was discovered by BuildFeed and is apparently still in internal testing. Neowin was told by a source that the build could be coming to Windows Phones soon, but, as the website points out, there are still a lot of bugs to iron out with the current release, which raises some skepticism over an imminent release.

    Additionally, it would, in IT Pro‘s option, be very surprising if Redstone came to Windows Phone 10 before Windows 10 proper.

    11/12/2015: Windows 10 users can now use Windows Hello with Kinect v2, allowing them to securely sign into their devices with just their face.

    This is done by scanning with infrared light that can detect minute details in the individual user’s face, but previously only owners of Windows 10 devices with specific IR cameras installed were able to use the feature.

    Now, those with a Kinect v2 can set it up to log in to Windows 10 by simply downloading the preview version of the Kinect for Windows driver and changing a registry setting, reports Neowin. Full instructions can be found on Channel 9.

    Other apps are also updating to include support for Windows Hello, with iHeartRadio finally releasing a Windows 10 Mobile version of its music app. For Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL users, however, support for Windows Hello authentification has also been added.

    Others rumours, reported by Neowin, suggest that Microsoft wants to extend Cortana’s reach across Windows 10 applications like Office 365 with its Redstone update.

    8/12/2015: Microsoft is becoming ever more heavy-handed in its attempts to get Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10, it would appear.

    Josh Mayfield is a software engineer who created the GWX Control Panel app, which prevents the Get Windows 10 applet (seen in the image at the top of this Latest News section) from appearing and also blocks the system from automatically upgrading to Windows 10. He told Computerworld: “Over Thanksgiving weekend I started getting reports that the Windows Update ‘AllowOSUpgrade’ setting was getting flipped back on on a number of peoples’ PCs, and it keeps re-setting itself at least once a day if they switch it back off.”

    “This is new behavior, and it does leave your PC vulnerable to unwanted Windows 10 upgrade behavior,” he added.

    Mayfield believes all this is a precursor to a much stronger Windows 10 push from Microsoft, as the applet is getting harder and harder to block. Indeed, it’s already known that at the beginning of 2016 Windows 10 will become a recommended update, meaning anyone who has their system set to automatically accept recommended updates – the safest option for most people, as these updates are normally bug fixes and security patches – could find themselves being asked to complete the installation process, rather than choosing to start it themselves.

    3/12/2015: Windows 10 Mobile for Business will reach its end of life on 9 January 2018, it has been revealed. Both the enterprise mobile OS and Windows 10 Mobile for Consumer were released on 16 November this year and will, according to Microsoft, continue to receive updates automatically for two years.

    Of course, end of life dates can be flexible, and “end of mainstream support” doesn’t mean the end of support altogether – indeed a review note accompanying the lifecycle information states support will last for “a minimum of 24 months” and there is no extended support end date listed.

    Additionally, whenever support finally ends, it almost certainly will not mark the end of Windows 10 Mobile. Rather, it’s likely this is when a large update, such as Redstone.

    Windows 10 Mobile has also come in for criticism from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    According to Bloomberg, Ballmer criticised his successor, Satya Nadella, when he told an audience member the company was trying to address the problem of a “lack of key apps” by encouraging Windows developers to create Universal apps.

    Ballmer reportedly interrupted Nadella, saying “that won’t work”, adding the company should allow Windows Phone “to run Android apps” – a plan that was rumoured to have been in the works, but which was recently shelved.

[Source:- IT pro 2]