Windows 10 release date, price, features and hardware: Everything you need to know

Microsoft reveals Windows 10 UK price for Home edition

Windows 10 at-a-glance

Windows 10 will launch globally in 190 countries on 29 July 2015, and details about what to expect from the next-gen OS are slowly being revealed, both officially and via leaks. Here's our round-up of everything you need to know about Windows 10.

  • Windows 10 initial release date set for 29 July.
  • Enterprise users can manage company-wide rollouts for Windows 10 updates.
  • Project Spartan browser finally gets a proper name: Microsoft Edge.
  • Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 consumer edition users, who can reserve their copy right now, during the first year after launch.
  • If you don't upgrade within the year, you will be charged from £100
  • Android and iOS apps will run on the new OS.

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Windows 10 latest news

01/07/15: With four weeks to go until Windows 10's worldwide launch, Microsoft has released another technical preview build for Fast Ring Windows Insiders. Build 10159 comes just one day after the previous iteration, 10158, and mainly contains fixes for bugs in the previous release as Microsoft moves closer to the full RTM version of Windows 10.

With build 10158, however, Microsoft introduced a handful of few new features, including Microsft Edge branding and tweaks, improvements to Cortana and a new five second delay on the Windows snipping tool for capturing pop-up menus.

Windows 10 also has a new wallpaper. The latest build now comes with the OS' new 'hero desktop image', as the company calls it. This image looks set to be Windows 10's default desktop wallpaper, as well as appearing on the login screen, so could well take on the ubiquity of XP's rolling hills.

24/06/15: Microsoft has revealed the stand-alone price for a Home version of Windows 10 via its "Get Windows 10" app. The launch page of the Home version of the app shows the figure £99.99 crossed out, with "free" in its place - reflecting the fact the new OS will be available as a free upgrade for a year after launch for eligible users.

This is in keeping with a leak from online retailer Newegg, which pinned the price for a Home version at $109 ex VAT, and Pro at $149 ex VAT.

15/06/15: Facebook's forthcoming virtual reality headset Oculus Rift will have native support on the Windows 10 operating system, according to the VR device's launch event last week.

Whether users will be able to use the Rift with a 360-degree interactive desktop, or whether Microsoft will simply allow app developers to stream their content to the device, however, is currently unclear.

Microsoft has also announced the development of a universal app for Skype that will come preinstalled with every copy of Windows 10.

This move is part of Microsoft's effort to bring more people into its app ecosystem with Windows 10, which has also included signing contracts with several OEMs to preinstall other selected Office apps on their devices.

08/06/15: Microsoft has revealed the Windows 7 features that will not be making it into Windows 10, as well as certain additional software users will need to download in order to get certain hardware working.

According to the Windows 10 specifications page, Windows Media Center will be removed when Windows 10 is installed on computers currently running Windows 7 or 8.1. Windows 7 desktop gadgets will also be removed, as will the versions of Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts that came pre-installed with that OS, although versions of Solitaire and Minesweeper will be available to download separately from the Windows Store. OneDrive will also be removed from Windows Live Essentials, if the user has it on their system, but will be replaced with the inbox version of the cloud storage service.

Additionally, if a user has a USB floppy drive they will need to download the latest driver from the maufacturer's website or from Windows Update. DVDs will also require separate playback software, although Microsoft has not specified what it is or where to get it from.

01/06/15: An exact date for Windows 10 to be released for PCs has been revealed - July 29. It was previously know that Microsoft's new operating system would arrive late next month.

Announced in an official blog post, the new release date means that Microsoft has less than two months to smooth out bugs and issues found in preview builds rolled out thus far.

26/05/15: Microsoft has announced a new Windows 10 app that it claims will bring a more seamless Windows 10 mobile experience to iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as Windows smartphones.

Dubbed Phone Companion App for Windows 10, the program acts as a management consol for Windows apps and services such as OneDrive, Office, Xbox Music or Skype, giving users to get the same continuous Windows 10 experience on all mobile devices, not just Windows Phone, Microsoft claimed.

The company also announced new Cortana apps for Android and iOS devices, which will be released in June, and at an unspecified later date respectively. Phone Companion, on the other hand, will be part of the final Windows 10 operating system when it is released later this year.

18/05/15: Only people using genuine copies of Windows 7 or 8.1 will be able to upgrade free to Windows 10, Microsoft has confirmed, dispelling rumours it would also be available for users of pirate copies of the operating system.

Earlier this year, Microsoft appeared to indicate it would offer a free upgrade to pirates, with operating systems chief Terry Myerson Microsoft telling Reuters: "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10."

However, in a blog post Microsoft clarified that only those who are using a legitimate version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be entitled to the free Windows 10 upgrade, although Myerson did express sympathy for accidental victims of piracy.

"Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together," Myerson said.

"While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to non-genuine Windows devices, and as we've always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a non-genuine state," he added, meaning these customers will have to shell out for the full license fee.

Windows 10 release date

Windows 10 will be released on 29 July 2015, Microsoft announced at the beginning of June.

The news of a July release will come as little surprise to Microsoft watchers. The company had stated the release would come this summer, and AMD's CEO Lisa Su tipped the world off to a July launch thanks to a a slip of the tongue during an earnings call in April.

Furthermore, it was already known that the finished version of Windows 10 would be with OEMs in June.

It is likely that the general release version of Windows 10 will look very much like the most current version of Windows 10 Technical preview, build 10159, which came out in late June.

How to get Windows 10 Technical Preview

If you cannot wait the few short weeks until the general release of Windows 10, there is still time to sign up to the Windows Insider Program and get the Technical Preview.

You will need a Microsoft ID or Outlook email address to sign up to the Insider Program, which you must have before you can download the Technical Preview.

The Insider Program page will guide you through the installation process, although a step-by-step guide of what to expect is available here if you want to get an idea of what will be in store before you get underway.

If you want to test Windows 10 in an enterprise environment, you may want to download the Windows 10 Enterprise Insider Preview instead.

System requirements for Windows 10 can be found here.

Fast and slow track releases

Windows Insider Program subscribers can sign up to either the Fast Ring or Slow Ring of releases. As the names indicate, the Fast Ring receives builds as soon as they become available. This has the benefit of allowing users to get their hands on the latest build straight away, but the disadvantage of having more bugs.

Those on the Slow Ring will not receive builds for a while after they become available to the Fast Ring, but they will be more polished with fewer performance issues or potential vulnerabilities. It is also possible to move between the two if you find Fast Ring too buggy or Slow Ring too slow.