The one-year anniversary of the Windows 10 release is right around the corner, and Microsoft just announced the operating system is now on 300 million active devices. Thanks to improvement-focused processes like the Insider Program and constantly testing new builds, Windows 10 has the highest customer satisfaction of any version of Windows. What’s even more unique about this release is that a lot of these upgrades to Windows 10 have been for free thanks to Microsoft’s Free Upgrade Offer – but that will soon be coming to an end on July 29, 2016.
After July 29, you can get Windows 10 pre-installed on a new device, purchase upgrades through volume licensing, or purchase a full version of Windows 10. Once upgraded to Windows 10, you’ll notice it getting better and better. That’s because of the new innovations you’ll get for free due to how Windows is now delivered as a service.
The first innovations came to us on November 12, 2015, less than 6 months after Windows 10 launched. The November Update, as it is called, empowered IT professionals to have more control over their users’ updates with a new free service called Windows Update for Business. This service integrates with existing company tools, like System Center, to control update deployment and provide security updates sooner. It features peer-to-peer delivery to ease bandwidth consumption when updating remote sites, along with Distribution Rings, which allows waves of designated users to receive updates when specified by the IT team. Even time is manageable with Maintenance Windows, which allows IT to set specific timeframes when updates can happen or not, so business will not be interrupted.
Another manageability feature introduced to us in November was the distribution of apps with Windows Store for Business. Businesses can now take advantage of acquiring large amounts of applications, or having another outlet to distribute their own custom line of business applications. IT professionals can go to a Web-based portal and sign in using their Azure AD account to choose the applications that they want for their business. They have the option of choosing whether the apps should be hosted online in a private company store or if the apps will be offline and distributed within the company’s network to specific users.
These were just the highlights of the first Windows update. It’s now July and Microsoft has already announced the next installment of innovations available starting August 2nd , appropriately named the Anniversary Update. One of the exciting features in this update will be the extension of Windows Hello. Windows Hello allows a secure way to sign into your Windows 10 device without a password by using biometrics like facial recognition or a fingerprint reader. This will now be extended to Microsoft Edge and Windows apps to allow biometric sign on to secured sites without a password.
Another update coming in July will be Windows Ink. Inking is already very popular on Windows 10 devices, as users enjoy the ability to quickly jot down notes in OneNote – but now that functionality will be extended to other apps. You will be able to take your Windows 10 device and write on sticky notes or draw on a whiteboard digitally. Windows Ink will also be integrated into Maps and Microsoft Edge.
The Free Upgrade program might be coming to an end, but new innovations will keep coming for free to those who have invested in Windows 10. This allows users to rely on Windows 10 as the familiar, productivity-boosting environment that we have come to love – but with the added benefit of knowing the platform will stay current across all Windows devices, thanks to Windows as a service.