Computer fans check out Windows 10 in Sydney
Computer fans check out Windows 10 in Sydney

Windows 10 arrives on more than 14 million devices

WINDOWS is no longer an operating system designed mainly for PCs.

Its latest iteration, Windows 10, caters for desktop computers, tablets, phones, the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens.

After the disaster of previous releases, Microsoft has brought back the Start menu its users know and love.

It also says Windows is faster than ever before with a quicker start-up and resume.

By all accounts, it's a big improvement on Windows 8 (and no there isn't a 9).

It comes with free anti-malware protection - and ongoing security updates.

Windows 10 has already been downloaded on 14 million computers, Microsoft says.

"While we now have more than 14 million devices running Windows 10, we still have many more upgrades to go before we catch up to each of you that reserved your upgrade," the computing giant wrote in a blog post.

In some ways Microsoft is playing catch-up with Apple, with its personal digital assistant, Cortana, something along the lines of Siri.

Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders.

Interaction is via talking or typing.

But Cortana won't debut in Australia until the next couple of months and only as part of the Windows Insider Program initially.

Windows 10 features Microsoft Edge, a slick new browser that offers built-in commenting on the web via typing or inking - sharing comments.

Users will also be able to experience new universal applications for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Microsoft says with new touch-first controls in Excel you can create or update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse. There are also new versions of OneNote and Outlook.

For gamers, Xbox Live and the integrated Xbox App bring new experiences.

Xbox on Windows 10 brings the expansive Xbox Live gaming network to Windows 10 PCs and tablets.

You can communicate with your friends on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One while playing any PC game. You can capture, edit and share your greatest gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices.

The Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail and Calendar apps have updated designs that look and feel familiar from app to app and device to device.

You can start something on one device and continue it on another since your content is stored on and synched through OneDrive.

Windows Hello greets you by name and with a smile, letting you log in without a password and providing instant, more secure access to your Windows 10 devices. With Windows Hello, biometric authentication is easy with your face, iris or finger providing instant recognition.

Microsoft says it will continue to update Windows 10 over time to help users be more productive and have more fun. Like Windows 10 itself, the updates will be free.

Is it free?

Yes, if you have a desktop PC or laptop with a legitimate copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you can upgrade to Windows 10 free for the next year.

So how do I get it?

You should see a Get Windows 10 icon in your PC's taskbar, next to the system clock and volume. That little Windows icon is an invitation to reserve your free upgrade of Windows 10 - from there, you get your place in line for a Windows 10 download, and enter your email address for confirmation. From there, you will get a notification when it's ready to install.

Will Aussie users of Windows 10 get to meet Cortana? Not right away.

Can I roll back to a previous version of Windows? Yes, if you don't like Windows 10, you're able to roll back.



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