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Windows 10

On July 29, 2015, Microsoft launched Windows 10 along with a free upgrade offer available in 190 countries for the life of the system.  At this time the free upgrade offer has expired (yes, even the assistive technology loophole) and you will need to purchase it if you wish to upgrade your existing Windows 7 or 8.1 system.  With Windows 10 Microsoft now has a kernel that is shared across multiple form factors and shares a common codebase and security updates (Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Mobile, IoT and now Server 2016). 

Mainstream lifecycle support lasts until October 2020 with extended support until October 2025.

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Version/Install/Upgrade/Activation Stuff

Windows 10 is designed to be continuously updated through major releases.
Released Major Versions (winver to check your build)
  • July 2015 - Original          - OS Build 10240.x
  • Nov 2015 - Version 1511 - OS Build 10586.x
  • Aug 2016 - Version 1607 - OS Build 14393.x    - also known as the AU release.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607) is being rolled out to Windows 10 PCs across the world in phases starting with newer machines first. It will roll out automatically to you through Windows Update if you’ve chosen to have updates installed automatically on your device. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC at work, you will need to check with your IT administrator for details on your organization’s specific plans to update.
How much does Windows 10/Pro/Upgrade cost?
  • We are not a sales channel and cost may be different in your country.  Please check the Microsoft Store, Amazon, Newegg, or the search engine of your choice
  • But I am in 'country X and I 'need' it and they don't sell it here........ NO.  We are still NOT a sales channel.

Support / Information links
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With Windows 10 Microsoft substantially changes the update/support model for patching.  Microsoft's motivation for this seems to stem from two sources;
  1. Avoid Windows 7 getting into a situation like Windows XP.
  2. Avoid news articles about botnets created through vectors patched months to years ago where users failed to apply patches or disabled windows update.
With Windows 10, Microsoft will continuously add features and functionality throughout the life of a service branch.  With Windows 10 there will be three 'servicing options'.  Current Branch (CB), Current Branch for Business (CBB) and Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB).  This continuous update model Microsoft describes as Windows as a Service where product cycles are measured in months instead of years and released sooner rather then later.  This also adds Windows Insiders to be able to publically test and provide feedback on these builds and features as Microsoft releases them through a Fast or Slow ring.

For the general public, there will be two types of updates.  
  • Feature upgrades that install the latest new features, experiences, and capabilities on devices that are already running Windows 10. Because feature upgrades contain an entire copy of Windows, they are also what customers use to install Windows 10 on existing devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, and on new devices where no operating system is installed.
  • Servicing updates that focus on the installation of security fixes and other important updates. 
Feature upgrades are announced for a two to three times a year release while Servicing updates are as needed for security or bug fixes.

Support scenarios
  • Current Branch - (Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise) - supported for a minimum of four months for servicing updates, after which you may be required to update to a Feature upgrade.  The goal is to deploy new features as soon as possible. 
  • Current Branch for Business - (Pro, Education, Enterprise) - Feature upgrades will be available after around 4 months from initial publication for Current Branch users.  Supported for approximately 8 months.  This is to provide businesses additional time to test new feature upgrades before deployment.  NOTE: YOU will need WSUS, SCCM or some other patch deployment method to control/approve patches/feature upgrades.
  • Long-Term Servicing Branch - (Enterprise LTSB) - This is a special deployment for low change configurations and will only receive servicing updates.  As it is Enterprise only, it seems to require an SA agreement with Microsoft to implement and is not available to consumers.
For more pictures and details see this TechNet article.

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