Microsoft Outlines How Windows 10 Testers Will Get the July 29 Commercial Release
Microsoft notified its Windows 10 preview test-program participants today that they can still continue as "Windows Insider" testers even after the operating system's July 29 commercial release.
However, there's a catch. Windows Insider participants need to associate the Microsoft account they used to sign up for the test program with their copy of the Windows 10 preview. The announcement by Gabriel Aul, general manager for the data and fundamentals team for Microsoft's Operating System Group, added that using a Microsoft account won't be a requirement for general users of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 who plan to move to Windows 10. The Windows account requirement is just for Windows Insider participants if they want to continue in that test program.
Windows Insiders who associate the preview with their Microsoft account will get the "final release build of Windows starting on July 29," Aul explained. It won't matter if the preview was installed using ISO media, he added. In addition, it will be possible for testers to perform a clean installation of Windows 10 after receiving the July 29 final release.
Windows Insider testers will get an option to either stay with the test program or they can accept the July 29 final release version of the OS, Aul indicated.
Insider Hub and Browser Changes
In preparation for the release, Microsoft is planning to remove the Insider Hub, which is an interface for providing user feedback. It will disappear with the next Windows 10 build, but it can be reinstalled if wanted. The July 29 commercial release will bring back the Insider Hub, though.
Microsoft's announcement warned Windows Insider testers that they should back up their browser favorites before the next Windows 10 build release. If not backed up, users could lose their browsers' lists of favorite sites, Reading List items and browsing history, as well as cookies. The change is coming because Microsoft will be replacing the code-named "Project Spartan" browser in the Windows 10 preview with its Edge browser.
As for when the next Windows 10 preview build will arrive, no date was specified by Aul. He recommended that Windows Insider testers should backup their browser favorites "now," though.
Windows 10 Upgrades for Enterprises
Windows 10 Home and Pro editions will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 users. The update will get delivered through Microsoft's Windows Update service.
Enterprise edition users of Windows are a separate case and are excluded from the general free upgrade offer. Enterprise edition Windows users only can get a "free" Windows 10 upgrade if they have Software Assurance coverage for their Windows clients. Software Assurance is an annuity program that ensures upgrades to the next software release, but it adds costs on top of the original software license price.
Aul explained that Windows Enterprise edition users will have to download Windows 10 from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center. It's not going to stream down to them automatically via Windows Update.
While Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be released on July 29, there also will be a second Windows 10 release this fall. It's rumored that this second Windows 10 release will be the Enterprise edition. Microsoft hasn't explained why there will be a fall release, though.
For more Windows 10 upgrade details, see the Q&A put together by Andre Da Costa, a Microsoft MVP.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.