Microsoft is gearing up to officially release Windows 10 on July 29 across PCs and tablets and later this year for smartphones, along with free upgrades for the next year for users currently on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
Aside from the reintroduction of the start menu, key features of Windows 10 include integration of the Cortana digital assistant into the Start menu, a new web browser called Microsoft Edge (formerly known as Project Spartan) to replace Internet Explorer and support for universal apps.
Windows 10 also includes updated apps covering photos, videos, music, maps, people, mail and calendar, Xbox Live integration and biometric authentication. Another feature, called Windows Continuum, allows tablets to transition from one form factor to another and allows smartphones to become PCs by adding a monitor, mouse and keyboard.
According to Microsoft, the upgrade will be available for Windows 8.1 laptop, tablet or desktop PCs that are currently on sale. On PC, it requires at least a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM for 32-bit or 2 GB RAM for 64-bit, a 16 GB hard disk for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit, a graphics card supporting DirectX 9 or later and a 1024×600 display.