Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 computers within the first year after launch and with the release date quickly approaching, everyone’s wondering how exactly the software giant is planning to ship this new OS version to PCs running an eligible Windows build.
As we’ve told you a few weeks back, Microsoft rolled out a patch labeled as KB3035583 that’s supposed to prepare computers for the Windows 10 upgrade, and when the new operating system becomes available, download the necessary files and deploy them on a target PC.
The official description of the patch is rather basic and doesn’t reveal much about its purpose, but it does confirm that it comes to “enable additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications when new updates are available to the user. It applies to a computer that is running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1).”
But as Ed Bott of ZDNet discovered, there’s one XML file included in this patch that reveals a little bit more about the way the update will be offered to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 computers.
The XML file we were talking about contains a reference called “GWX” which presumably means “Get Windows 10” and is supposed to make any Windows 7 and 8.1 system ready for the new software.
The Windows 10 upgrade will be split in several steps but keep in mind that they would only happen on computers that installed KB3035583 (still offered as optional on most PCs, but labeled as important on some).
The first step is called “Anticipation UX” and includes pop-ups that would be displayed on target machines to let users know that the Windows 10 launch is approaching (these pop-ups will be displayed before Windows 10 becomes available and are very likely to start showing up in late May or early June)
Then, there is the “Reservation” step when users might be allowed to choose whether they want to upgrade or not, with some more pop-ups or ads to reveal the main changes brought by Windows 10 (such as the Start menu and Spartan browser).
What comes next takes place once Windows 10 becomes available, and includes upgrading, downloading, preparing the PC for installation, and the final configuration.
Upgrades for these computers are not expected to be offered from the very beginning, as Windows insiders, who have helped Microsoft build Windows 10, would be the first to get the new operating system. Their computers would get Windows 10 when the final version of the OS is ready, via Windows Update, just like any other fresh build.
Once this rollout is completed, everyone else eligible for the upgrade would get Windows 10, but this shouldn’t happen sooner than July or August, in order to make sure that Microsoft’s servers cope with the several gigabytes of downloads for each user.
To make sure that everything works smoothly, Redmond has also developed a peer-to-peer Windows Update system that would allow users get patches from other users in a completely secure environment, but it’s not yet clear whether the company has a similar plan in mind to ship the upgrade to Windows 10 as well.