Windows 10 will not be pre-installed on new PCs at launch

New PC owners have to upgrade like everyone else

Microsoft is weeks away from debuting its Windows 10 operating system, but don't expect to see it pre-installed on new PCs at launch.

Instead, Microsoft will offer customers who buy a new PC starting on July 29 the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 Home or Pro at retail stores. If you want a new PC and Windows 10 on launch day, expect to spend a little bit of extra time at your retailer for the entire process.

Best Buy, Bic Camera, Croma, Currys/PC World, Elkjøp, Jarrir, Incredible Connection, Media Markt, Staples, Wal-Mart, Yamada, Yodobashi and other retailers will offer new PC buyers data migration services and upgrade support, said Yusuf Mehdi, Vice President of Windows and Device Marketing, in a blog post.

Racing against the clock

The problem is that Microsoft is still working on finalizing the operating system ahead of the launch. This means that Windows 10 hasn't been sent to device manufacturers to test with their own drivers, despite rumors that a "release to manufacturing" build would be ready last week.

"You will see computers running with Windows 10 installed very soon after the 29th and then in the fall a whole new class of machines for the holidays," Mehdi explained in an interview with Bloomberg.

How to get Windows 10

As Microsoft previously outlined, Windows 10 will be available first for the 5 million Windows Insiders who participated in the Insider Preview program to test the operating system. The final release of Windows 10 will be available to Insiders as a test flight, similar to how preview builds are delivered.

Regular consumers who are not part of the Insider Preview program are able to reserve their copies. Microsoft will stagger the digital delivery of the download, so that the company's servers are not overwhelmed. Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade to existing Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users during the first year of release.

For users looking to buy a PC or notebook on or after July 29, Mehdi explained that they will be bumped up in the download queue if they choose not to immediately upgrade in retail stores when they purchase their new system.

Raising awareness

To help consumers get acquainted with the new operating system, Microsoft will be hosting demos at its retail stores as well as through partner retailers. The company will also host launch events in 13 cities with live demos.

With these events, Microsoft likely wants to avoid the upgrade confusion caused when Windows 8 launched. Despite advertisements promoting Windows 8's ease of use, consumers had trouble adjusting from the classic desktop of Windows 7 to the Metro-inspired Modern UI of Windows 8 with Live Tiles. Windows 10 will bring new features to the experience, including a new Start menu, Cortana digital voice assistant, Microsoft Edge browser and Continuum for owners of hybrid and convertible notebooks.

"Beginning July 20th in the U.S. and July 29th globally, the first wave of TV and digital ads will highlight how Windows 10 delivers a more human way to do – brought to life with features like Windows Hello and Microsoft Edge," Mehdi added.