Microsoft confirms launch date for Windows 10
Microsoft has confirmed a launch date of July 29 for Windows 10, the technology giant's major update to its PC operating system.
The update will be available for free to users running Windows 7, or the current generation Windows 8.1; an offer that will last a year. The update will be available across Windows smartphones and tablets, as well desktop PCs.
Among the major new features is Microsoft's digital personal assistant Cortana coming to desktop for the first time, and the introduction of Microsoft Edge, the web browser replacement for Internet Explorer.
Writing on the official Windows blog, Microsoft's Terry Myerson said: "We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens - all working together to empower you to do great things."
The famed Start button that had disappeared from Windows in recent years is also being re-introduced as part of the update, combing with the tile-based menu that has been part of the interface in versions 7 and 8.
"Familiar, yet better than ever, Windows 10 brings back the Start menu you know and love," said Mr Myerson.
"Windows 10 is faster than ever before, with quick start-up and resume. And Windows 10 provides the most secure platform ever, including Windows Defender for free anti-malware protection, and being the only platform with a commitment to deliver free ongoing security updates for the supported lifetime of the device."
Next week, perennial rival Apple is set to announce the annual update to its desktop software, Mac OS X, at the firm's WWDC developer conference in San Francisco.
Apple has been outperforming Microsoft in PC sales over the last year, as users turned away from Windows 8, which was poorly received by the critics.
Windows 10 has already received a more positive response from early users, and Microsoft has now opened the reservation process for those who wish to upgrade upon the launch in July.