Microsoft's plans to release the retail version of Windows 10 on USB drives as well as the traditional optical media have been seemingly confirmed in leaked stock listings.
While Microsoft has been making great strides in digital distribution, many of the company's customers prefer physical media - either for the comfort of knowing you've got something you can hold in your hand for your hundreds of pounds, or due to the still-poor connection speeds and data transfer limits that still plague rural areas. Its early operating systems were distributed on floppy disks, which were soon abandoned when the number of disks required for each OS crept ever-higher and optical drives became standard issue on PCs.
Recent retail releases of Windows have been available as a downloadable edition, which comes in a media-free box containing a download code, and as physical DVDs, but rumours suggested that Windows 10 would be the first to hit shop shelves in a USB flash drive form. The shift to USB is a smart one: enthusiasts often create installable USB drives from downloaded or optical media anyway, thanks to its improved transfer rate reducing installation times and the trend for many systems to come without optical drives at all.
This week, German-language enthusiast site WinFuture.de
published what is claimed to be stock listings - including stock-keeping unit (SKU) numbers - for USB flash drive variants of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Professional. Priced to match the DVD release and containing both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, the USB release is likely to prove popular - cutting out, as it does, a step of the process for those who don't wish to or can't use optical media.
Microsoft has not commented on the site's claims, nor confirmed or denied the existence of SKUs for USB flash drive variants of Windows 10 at retail.