Microsoft Sheds Light On Windows 10 Rollout Plans, Enterprises Will Get It Aug. 1

Microsoft is almost ready to release Windows 10 to manufacturing, and on Thursday it gave some insight into the phased rollout it has planned for the new operating system.

"Soon, we will give a build of Windows 10 to our OEM partners so they can start imaging new devices with Windows 10," Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the recently formed Windows and Devices Group (WDG), said in a blog post.

After that, the next step will be to ship a Windows 10 build to Microsoft's global retail partners so they can upgrade customers who recently bought Windows 8.1 PCs, Myerson said in the blog post. Microsoft is offering free Windows 10 upgrades to Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users.

[Related: Windows 10 Available July 29 -- Partners Cheer, But Say Challenges Remain]

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Starting Aug.1, Microsoft's volume licensing customers -- typically enterprises and other large organizations -- can download Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), according to Myerson.

Myerson said Microsoft plans to ship Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home on July 29, the same day it begins rolling out Windows 10 to its 5 million Windows Insiders worldwide -- testers who've been kicking the tires on the OS for the past several months.

"From there, we will start notifying reserved systems in waves, slowly scaling up after July 29th," said Myerson in the blog post.

Jon Bach, president of Puget Systems, a Kent, Wash.-based Microsoft system builder partner who's been testing Windows 10 since the Windows Insider program began, said that "while there are a few quirks left to fix, overall the experience has been very good."

"I'm a big fan of Microsoft pushing everyone to the same platform, and what they're trying to do with universal apps," Bach told CRN. "They even plan to add SSH [Secure Shell] support to Windows, which is great for our scientific computing customers."

Microsoft has said that customers running Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise will not be eligible for a free upgrade, although ones with Software Assurance plans can upgrade to Windows 10 outside of the free program.