Delivery of the free upgrade versions of Windows 10 began today - have you got yours yet?
Participants in Microsoft's Windows Insider program and the first of the ordinary users that reserved a copy of the Windows 10 upgrade will see the new operating system waiting to be installed on their computers today.
Others who have reserved an upgrade will receive it as Microsoft's compatibility-checking program determines that Windows 10 will run satisfactorily on their hardware.
But judging by a Microsoft statement earlier this month that wait should not be very long for most people, as "In our testing of millions of systems, we’re seeing full compatibility today with the vast majority of Windows 8x and Windows 7x systems."
If you haven't already reserved an upgrade, you can do so by clicking the Windows icon in the system tray on Windows 7 or 8.
The free upgrade offer applies to devices running consumer editions of Windows 7 or 8.1, and lasts for one year from today. Once taken up, the Windows 10 licence for that device is not time-limited.
Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, and Windows 8.1 are upgraded to Windows 10 Home. Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate, and Windows 8.1 Pro and Pro for Students are upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.
The main differences between Home and Pro are in the areas of security and management. For example, Pro supports BitLocker encryption and group policy management, but Home doesn't.
Those upgrading multiple computers to Windows 10 may prefer to download the Windows 10 installer disc image rather than letting each computer download the 3GB updater separately. The one installer takes care of Windows 10 Home and Pro.
One well-publicised part of Windows 10 that isn't immediately available to Australian customers is the Cortana digital assistant. This feature will be offered to Windows Insiders "within the next couple of months" and presumably to the rest of us shortly after.
Other features highlighted by Microsoft include the "all-new" Edge browser, a melding of the traditional Start menu and live tiles, and Xbox integration (not that you'd want that at work, would you?).
Early reviews of Windows 10 seem generally positive, though they have revealed some teething problems. For example, Ars Technica noted that if more than 500 or so programs are installed, the Start menu can't see them all - even if you search for the name of the application. The Wall Street Journal draws attention to Edge's sluggishness . And Gizmodo found that the Battery Saver mode didn't save the battery.
Microsoft has stated that Windows 10 will be the last version of the operating system in the sense that it marks the change from irregular 'big bang' upgrades to the progressive release of new features.
Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education will be available to volume licensing customers beginning this Saturday.
Please leave a comment with your experiences - good or bad - of Windows 10.