Microsoft announced that PC and Tablet users in Ireland and 189 other countries will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, beginning July 29, 2015.
Have any Reservations?
Microsoft have introduced a reservation system, which means that you can register now for your free upgrade when it unlocks on 29. July. You will not need to wait for the OS to download on the day, competing against millions of other PC owners worldwide, by reserving your update, the majority of the files required for installing Windows will be downloaded in the background before the release date.
If you're worried about being a guinea pig on 29. July, don't worry, existing Windows users, outside of Enterprise users, will have one year from July 29, 2015 to take advantage of the free upgrade.
More than four million Windows Insiders around the world have been running the Operating System in beta release, helping make Windows 10 the most tested version of the Operating System to date, More combinations and configurations of hardware than would have been possible in a test lab in Redmond mean that Windows 10 will be able to run better on your hardware. Basically, as long as it can run Windows 7 (SP1) or Windows 8.1 update, it should be able to run Windows 10.
Exactly How Free is Free?
Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device at no cost - it will not become a subscription service after the first year.
If after the first year of launch you decide to upgrade to Windows 10 (for example on 1. August 2016) it will then cost €100 or more to upgrade, depnding on which version you buy. Thereafter, Microsoft will continue to support the OS at no additional cost.
What about Windows Phones, Xbox and HoloLens?
Microsoft are taking a phased approach to the release of Windows 10. Even though the underlying OS will be the same on all devices, it will arrive first for PC and Tablet users in July. Later in the year it will come to Xbox and Windows Phone, with HoloLens also being available for the first time.
This is not to say that Microsoft is less confident about the OS on these devices, but it makes sense to get it right for the market with the most users and expand from there.
We will have more news about the Windows 10 release on these devices later in the year, but for now we have "Late 2010" as guidance.