Windows 10 Editions and Upgrades Announced


Microsoft has just announced which editions of the new Windows 10 will be offered.  As usual with Microsoft, the announcement is full of uninformative, gee-whiz marketing fluff hedged by the legal department but here is a summary of what I think they said.

Windows 10

The editions will have a common main core of features and share the same Windows Store but will have variations that depend on the device for which they are intended. The method of sale and pricing will depend on the intended market. Upgrades from previous versions of Windows will also depend on the nature of the user. Here are the various choices.

For Home and Small Business Users

There will be two editions for new PCs, Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Home will be cheaper but will lack certain features present in Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Pro will have additional features such as BitLocker encryption and the ability to join domain networks. This seems to be similar to the present differences between the two consumer versions of Windows 8.1.

There will also be two editions of Windows 10 that will be available as free online upgrades to existing licensed PCs. Consumers and small businesses that have PCs running Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 or Windows 8.1 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Consumers and small businesses with Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 8.1 Pro systems will be offered a free online upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. There is some kind of one year limitation on getting a free upgrade that I still find murky. 

For Large Organizations

An edition called Windows 10 Enterprise will be available as an upgrade for organizations that have a Microsoft Volume License contract. Otherwise, a business or other organization will have to buy a Pro license on a PC to qualify for the Windows 10 Enterprise upgrade. Windows 10 Enterprise will not be available to OEMs as an option for new PCs.

For Educational Institutions

A separate version of Windows 10 Enterprise will be available as an upgrade to large educational institutions with volume licenses.

Mobile devices

Mobile devices running Windows Phone 8.1 will be offered Windows 10 Mobile as a free upgrade.

And there you have it - a quick summary of the various editions of the forthcoming Windows 10.

Added 15 May, 2015 - A Microsoft blog released today says this:

As we announced earlier this year, for the first time ever, we are offering the full versions of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Pro as a free and easy upgrade for qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year after launch. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device. 

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Hi Gizmo Gang,
Gizmo has been my favorite source for information and freeware for a very long time. Kudos!

Might I suggest an article that tells how to Prevent a Win 10 upgrade and how to remove the KB files that Windows Update presets on your system.
I've learned my lesson with the common piggyback ware from freeware installations but I used to trust MS to only update the OS. The days of blindly clicking update are gone. I have already set Windows update to 'ask me before installing' but do I have to research every single update now? There must be a better way?

I use Win 8x64 SL. What is the corresp version of Win 10?

This link( has some information about Windows 8 SL. You will need Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10.

No site, not even Microsoft's, gives any info about update of Windows 8.1x64 SL to Windows 10

Will current software, like [edited], [edited], [edited], and utilities, anti malware work with Windows 10?

[Moderator's note: mention of commercial software edited out]

It is better to either visit the site of the commercial software, or write to their support in order to satisfy your query. Please do not post here about commercial software.

In general, most of the programs should work with Windows 10.

There is a handful of Windows update files that are in preparation for the "free" Windows 10 upgrade, these updates keep being moved around from being Optional to Hotfix and even Security! In my opinion there is no need to install these at present as on some systems they have been causing slow downs and a few other problems (mine included) I have no doubt that when the free upgrade is offered all the correct and working files will be offered again anyway... There are rumours as to what exactly these KB updates really do, however that is mainly speculation. My reason for commenting is purely to alert users that their systems are already being prepared in the background.

These are the related windows update files I mention:

KB 3021917
KB 3035583
KB 2952664
KB 2990214
KB 3013531
KB 3022345

AndyR, Thank you for the KB #s, I will check...
I started my Win 7 PC this AM to an icon on the clock task bar to reserve my Win 10 free upgrade. I tried to quickly dismiss it but there is no ready option. So I clicked it and watched the screenplay.
There is nothing that appeals to me at all. I don't like Win8 or 8.1 and I am quite happy with Win 7.
I purchased my PC because it had Win 7.
Part of my updating routine is to always update my software. Now, I can't even trust that.
Is there a way to tell right off, if MS is infecting my PC with updates for Win 10?

Since it's listed among the eligible upgrade paths, does the new Windows 10 Pro incorporate those additional features that were in Windows 7 Ultimate by comparison with Windows 7 Pro?

A lot of things already changed with Windows 8/8.1. Features were added, features were dropped. Windows 10 has more changes and is still in development. If there is a particular feature you are interested in, try asking about it from someone who is running a trial copy or ask at our forum

Any idea when mobile devices will be get free upgrade to 10.

I assume more or less when the PC version is released (end of July?)

What if anything are MS saying about the OEM tablet edition 'Windows 8.1 with Bing'. Will OEM's be able to offer upgrades or, like phones running Windows Phone 7, will tablet (slate) owners just be forgotten again?

As far as I understand it, Windows 8.1 with Bing is basically the same as other 8.1 systems. Microsoft says larger tablets (8" and up) will get the free Windows 10 upgrade. If you have an ARM processor I don't know where that leaves you.What OEMs will offer is unknown. At this time, much is still up in the air.

I've gone to a lot of trouble to rid my 8.1 of Bing and practically lost what was left of my sanity doing it. :-| Does this mean I will have to poison my system with Bing all over again in order to get the "free" upgrade to 10?

I don't know if the Windows 10 upgrade will have Bing as the default search. It wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft made it the default in all upgrades but I don't know.

I thought that caktus was talking about having "Windows with Bing" preinstalled. That is a very different issue than having Bing as the default search engine which is very simple to change.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised if it does try to force Bing on me again. It was a big pain to get it off my Windows 8, the later 8.1. Even when it was no longer the default search engine it kept haunting me to no end. I guess MS was slipping up since I was eventually able to get rid of it so it would stay gone. If it comes back with the 10 upgrade I hope will be as merciful.

Remah, I do not have access to a "Windows with Bing" system. If you are familiar with it, then maybe you can help caktus.

Thanks to Gizmo"s and V. Laurie for this (way simpler than anything Microsoft could say) explanation of the different planed releases of Windows 10.

Having gone through the entire process of loosing Windows 7 through the ill fated upgrade process to 8, then 8.1, I am a little wary. For those who did not see it. there was a great Gizmo's article about a replacement for Windows Media Center, which will not work, (I am told) with the new Windows 10 Pro.

I wonder, does anyone know if the new Win 10 just goes into WMC and places all the items saved there into another format? Worth checking out before I lose my photos and videos!

It has been announced that there is no Windows Media Center for Windows 10. I don't know exactly how an existing system with Windows Media Center will be upgraded. Anyone else know?

v.laurie, First, Thank you for this article!

I use my Win7 WMP extensively. I purposly converted my entire CD collection to electronic and sold my CD player and gave away all my CDs.
I have WMC for my X-Box 360. The thought of having to use WinAmp is not appealing to me. I want my WMC.
Since it seems the trend is pushing toward cloud computing I figure Microsoft's solution will be to sell an app for your WMC online. This is speculation on my part but I see something like that happening. It seems like everything is moving to mobile computing. I'm not interested in paying more money to enjoy something I already paid for.
As for the replacement of WMC, I believe MS will have it all sent to a cloud. The player app will access the cloud for the play files and you will get slanted advertisements. You will see ads based on your photos, videos and music selections.
Microsoft couldn't pay me to upgrade to Win 10

Do they know what the W10 will cost after the year has come and gone?

I have seen no information on this. If anyone knows more, please let us know.

Update: According to this link, prices will be 119.99 for Windows 10 Home, $199.99 for Windows 10 Pro

I do not know if this counts as being more information or not but rumours say it will more than likely either be subscription based (much like Office 365) either that or you will just have the basic operating system but will need to pay for modules (aka Apps?) such as Media Centre etc...

Those are just rumours of course but not entirely unfounded when you think that a very high percentage of their operating system sales only come from new pre installed devices with not many people actually buying the operating system by itself these days, couple that with the all the pirated editions out there and Windows Activation tools it would be a good way for MS to recover those losses...