Microsoft plans to launch Windows 10 on July 29th… although not everyone who’s signed up for the free update will get Windows 10 on the first day it’s available. Microsoft is doing a phased rollout.

Anyway, with the next major version of Windows launching in just a few weeks, you might be a bit surprised to note that the company rolled out three different preview builds of Windows 10 to members of the Windows Insider beta testing community last week and that the company hasn’t yet launched the RTM (Release To Manufacturing) build of the operating system.

But it’s on the way. In fact, it could launch this week.

win10 desk

WinBeta notes that Windows 10 build 10176 has been compiled and that it’s marked as an RTM build, and The Verge has spoken with sources that confirm it’ll be released later this week.

It’s worth noting that the RTM isn’t the final release… Microsoft has been shifting its strategy for software updates and has been positioning Windows 10 as the first Windows-as-a-service release. That means we can expect regular updates throughout the operating system’s life span. Some updates will fix bugs and offer security improvements, much like the Windows updates we’re used to seeing. Others will bring new features.

In other words, Windows 10 will roll out updates much the way web browsers like Chrome or Firefox do.

Still, the company needs to provide PC makers something a little more stable than the test builds that had been rolling out to members of the Insider Program. That’s where the RTM version comes in.

In the past Microsoft had typically pushed out an RTM build a few months ahead of the general availability of a new desktop operating system. This gives PC makers time to test their hardware with the operating system and load up the software on computers that’ll be ready to ship with the latest version of Windows.

This time the RTM build is expected to come just a few weeks ahead of the public launch of Windows 10. But Microsoft has been offering test builds of Windows 10 for almost a year.

That’s given PC makers plenty of time to test the core operating system and make sure their hardware is compatible. In fact, Microsoft designed Windows 10 should run on pretty much any computer that can run Windows 7 or later (and probably on plenty of systems that originally shipped with Windows XP as well)… so some PC makers simply designed their 2015 model laptop and desktop computers to ship with Windows 8.1, knowing that they’d be able to support Windows 10 when it becomes available.

Microsoft did pack some new features into Windows 10 including the Cortana voice-activated personal assistant software and the Continuum experience which automatically changes the user interface of a 2-in-1 device from tablet mode to notebook mode depending on whether a keyboard is attached. But while Toshiba decided to go all-out and add a Cortana button to the keyboard of its latest computers, you can use Cortana on pretty much any computer with a microphone. And there are already plenty of 2-in-1 tablets/notebook hybrids that ship with Windows 8.1. They’ll just work better with Windows 10.

Does that mean we won’t see more new devices from PC makers designed to run Windows 10 in the future? Of course not. But right now anything that ships with Windows 8.1 can also run Windows 10 — whether you upgrade the OS yourself or wait for a PC maker to pre-load the operating system for you.

Paul Thurrott spoke with Dell about their Windows 10 launch plans and notes that the company will ship about 10 computers with Windows 10 software at launch, but Dell will add more models in the coming months.

That means some of the Dell computers you buy this summer ahead of the back-to-school season will feature Windows 10. But if you want to buy a Windows 8.1 model instead, you can always take advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade offer and install Windows 10 yourself. That promotion for free upgrades is good for the first year after Windows 10 launches, which means you’ve got up to 12 months to decide whether to upgrade.


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6 replies on “Windows 10 RTM coming this week (probably)”

  1. Win 10 has worked great on my Dell venue Pro 8 inch tablet. While on my OLD Toshiba R600 it runs hot (the fan is always blasting.)

  2. The builds ran great on my desktop, but they were pretty rocky on my 3 year old, dual-core atom tablet.

    That is, until recently. The newest build is running pretty great so far. No major bugs, very few minor bugs, and the performance is now pretty decent. I hope they can improve performance even more, but if it can run well on my dual-core Clover Trail tablet with eMMC storage (I think the storage speed is what’s hurting me the most), then everyone else should have no problems at all.

  3. Expect a bumpy ride at first. I’ve been running the preview since it was first released and while Windows10 has been getting better with (almost) every new build, there are still a lot of rough spots for them to polish before it is anything I would use on a daily basis. New builds / updates will continue right up to launch date and beyond. I expect Windows10 to be more like a finished product by the holiday season. Be patient. Early adopters will be the ones feeling the most pain.

    1. your joking right? I have ran it on 3 machines since day one. and while there have been some builds better then others there are really not that many rough spots.

      1. Not at all.
        Issues with Spartan/Edge browser crashing, drivers working on one build, not working on the next, then working again on the following build. Update system crashes. Etc. You know, stuff you expect with Alpha software.

      2. I am running the latest Build. Sometimes the Start Menu will lock up if I click on too many things too quickly in the desktop environment, and then I have to log off and log back in in order to bring back the Start Menu working normally again.

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