Microsoft has formally announced the launch date of its next-generation operating system Windows 10 as the 29th of July, providing its promised year-long free-upgrade offer until the same day in 2016.
Designed as the last full release of Windows, Windows 10 - formerly known as Windows Threshold - sees Microsoft transition to an incremental upgrade cycle already used by rival operating systems like OS X and many Linux distributions. To get people on-board, the company had previously announced that any licensed Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 user will have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 completely free of charge for the first year after its summer launch, receiving lifetime support for the operating system and all future upgrades as a result.
Now, the company has provided a proper launch schedule: on the 29th of July, Windows 10 will launch in 190 global markets and begin the one-year free-upgrade countdown. Those who take advantage of the offer will then receive upgrades 'for the supported lifetime of the device at no cost
,' the company explains.
For those who fancy a day-one upgrade, it's possible to reserve a free copy now: an extension to the Windows Update system has begun popping up a small icon in the system tray offering the upgrade, and clicking on the dialogue that appears begins a registration process which is designed to ensure that a copy will be available at launch without any delays required to verify your eligibility.
More information on the launch schedule, upgrade process and the new features Windows 10 brings along with it are available at the Windows Blog