Windows 10 at-a-glance
Windows 10 launched globally on 29 July 2015 and touted as “the last version of Windows”, marking the end of decades of occasional heavy duty OS updates in favour of a more incremental approach. Available as a free upgrade for a year after launch, Windows 10 became full price on 30 July 2016. 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 ended 29 July 2016 and Anniversary Update launched 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
- Android and iOS apps will run on the new OS
Windows 10 latest news
16/01/2017: The August update to Windows squashed bugs even before Microsoft officially patched them.
The company said the Windows 10 Anniversary Update included a host of security enhancements, some of which Microsoft’s security team said mitigated against zero-day attacks that were later patched in November. That suggests anyone installing the August update was safe from two specific attack vectors even before the patches.
The vulnerabilities in question included a flaw in Flash that allowed for elevation of privileges, which was used by the Strontium attack group in spear-phishing against American think-tanks and NGOs. The second flaw was in the Windows font library, also allowing hackers to elevate privileges; this time, the attacks were mostly seen in South Korea.
Microsoft’s researchers said attacks on both flaws were mitigated by protections in the Anniversary Update, offering protection to users and forcing hackers to come up with new attack techniques.
“While fixing a single-point vulnerability helps neutralise a specific bug, Microsoft security teams continue to look into opportunities to introduce more and more mitigation techniques,” noted Matt Oh and Elia Floria, of the Windows Defender ATP Research Team, in a blog post. “Such mitigation techniques can break exploit methods, providing a medium-term tactical benefit, or close entire classes of vulnerabilities for long-term strategic impact.”
They added: “These mitigation techniques are significantly reducing attack surfaces that would have been available to future zero-day exploits.”
Windows 10 release date
Windows 10 started to roll out to consumers on 29 July 2015.
The news of a July release came as little surprise to Microsoft watchers, as the company had stated the release would come in summer 2015, and AMD’s CEO Lisa Su tipped the world off to a July launch thanks to a slip of the tongue during an earnings call in April that year.
The RTM build was delivered to OEM partners to image new devices on 15 July, and another build is being delivered to retailers to upgrade unsold devices currently running Windows 8.1.
The first end users to get the finished version of the product were the five million Windows 10 Insiders using the operating system in a preview. Following that, Redmond began offering the upgrade to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users.
One year after the initial launch of Windows 10, Microsoft rolled out the Anniversary Update, which introduced useful tweaks but was a little light on new features. You can read our full review of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update here.
Volume licensing customers are able to download Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).
System requirements for Windows 10 can be found here.
Windows 10 different versions
As with its predecessors, Windows 10 is available in various different versions: Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.