The next version of Microsoft Windows will hit the streets in mid-2015. But you’ll be able to test drive early builds of the Windows 10 starting October 1st, 2014.

That’s when Microsoft will open the doors to its new Windows Insider Program, which lets anyone sign up to test technical preview builds of Windows 10.

Update: You can now sign up for the Windows Insider Program and download the latest preview version of Windows 10.

w10 start menu

When I say “anyone,” what I mean is anyone who’s not afraid of running experimental, unfinished software.

If you’ve got one PC in your house and you use it for work, storing the only copies of your family photos, or other activities where you can’t afford to run an unstable operating system, stay away from the technical preview.

But if you’ve got a spare PC and want to help Microsoft test new features and provide feedback to the company which could be incorporated in the final versions of Windows 10, well, that’s what Microsoft is hoping you’ll do.

Members of the Windows Insider Program won’t just get a chance to download a single preview build of Windows 10. Microsoft will roll out regular updates offering new features… but the company makes no promises that everything it sends out to insiders will be fully functional.

w10 snap

Among other things, Windows 10 is designed to be a single operating system that runs across a wide range of devices. Smartphones, tablets, and notebook and desktop computers will share common code. Desktop users will see a user interface that looks like a cross between Windows 7 and Windows 8, thanks to a new kind of Start Menu. But if you have a tablet, you’ll see a revised version of the Windows 8 Start Screen.

There’s also a new feature called Continuum for 2-in-1 devices. If you have a convertible tablet, the system will know if you’re using it as a notebook and show the desktop user interface. Switch to tablet mode and you get the tablet UI.

Other new features include virtual desktops which let you create separate workspaces as if you were using multiple monitors, a Task View feature which lets you see all of your running apps and desktops at a glance, and the ability to use keyboard shortcuts in the command prompt.

Apps from the Windows Store will also be able to run in resizable windows as well as in full-screen mode, and Microsoft has improved its “snap” feature to make it easier to use up to 4 apps side-by-side on the same screen.

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16 replies on “Windows 10 Technical Preview launches October 1st”

  1. I rather test the preview copy than to wait endlessly for my wifi to work and it never works

    1. I downloaded the WiFi drivers from Dell’s site and keep it in my documents. Every time the wifi and bluetooth hardware mysteriously disappears, I reinstall the drivers and that seems to fix my problems.

      1. How did you get your wifi to work? Bluetooth works fine but I can’t make it find the wifi for anything.

        1. Well, that’s about all I could do. You can try reverting the driver back to an older version or uninstalling certain windows updates (google them) that break wifi connected sleep mode. I had to use a USB OTG cable and a flash drive to copy the WIFI driver over. You could use a Micro SD card for that too.

  2. I can tell by the dude’s hair and changing background colors that he was the one responsible for the ugly ass tiles, stupid schizophrenic UI and Jolly Rancher candy color scheme in Windows 8, 8.1 and now 10 in the first place. Fucking Hipster, where’s your skateboard?

    1. Waiting to see the follow-on “jingle.” For Win8, Dufus, Dufus Pro we had “Clickety Clackity Clunk STOMP STOMP” which led to so many broken TV remotes as people dove in self-defense to change the channel. Surely they can come up with something even more annoying, perhaps fingernails on a chalkboard or cats in a room full of rocking chairs? The shrieking woman at the end of WinPhone ads was close but I’m sure they can do better.

  3. Did anyone else think that was Tony Danza in a wig right at first?

  4. Here’s hoping that Windows 10 will make my Dell Venue 8 Pro useful. Especially compared to the Chromebook I bought a couple weeks ago, the Venue 8 Pro has proven to be more frustrating than enjoyable. I won’t mind a bit throwing the Preview on it for testing.

    1. The Venue 8 Pro is not really for productivity, its more of a consumption device, and its really good at that, far better then a Chromebook.

      Not sure how a new OS would turn an 8 inch tablet into anything else…

      1. I have a Dell Venue 8 Pro as well, and it has been nothing but a frustrating mess. When it works as advertised, it is a fantastic tablet and does everything I could ask of it; but when it won’t wake back up from sleep mode or when the WiFi drivers suddenly get corrupt, I give up and use something else. It’s not an issue of form-factor or power, it’s just got half-baked software.

        1. I have the DV8P and its a fantastic device. I will admit that Dell has some shotty QC but the device as a whole and it’s “usability” was misunderstood by the post I was replying to.

        2. Now you know the reason why people like me want ARM windiws RT on small tablets no Broken WiFi Drivers.

    2. Hold your horses. Tomorrow’s preview is the laptop/desktop version, I don’t think you’ll be able to install it on your tablet yet.

      1. The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a full Intel PC in 8″ table form. It should run the preview just fine.

    3. You seem confused. How can you compare an 8″ tablet with any OS to a 10.1″+ screened notebook type device?

      You seem to have made a mistake by buying a device that didn’t meet your requirements. Other people (well me) find an 8″ Windows 8 tablet to be very useful.

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