Microsoft really wants people to upgrade to Windows 10. The company has released an update for Windows 7 and 8.1 users to ease the transition into what is expected to become the final version of Windows that will ever be released.
Microsoft is offering Windows 10 for free to these users until July next year, and any hiccups along the way could tarnish the image of a smooth, hassle-free upgrade. Next year, Microsoft plans to upgrade some users without asking ahead of time, meaning the company needs to iron out the kinks now rather than later.
The latest Windows 8.1 update also runs on Windows Server 2012 R2, while the Windows 7 update also runs on Windows Server 2008. "This update enables support for additional upgrade scenarios from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, and provides a smoother experience when you have to retry an operating system upgrade because of certain failure conditions," the description for the 8.1 version reads. "This update also improves the ability of Microsoft to monitor the quality of the upgrade experience."
Windows 10 needs all the support it can get if Microsoft hopes to achieve its goal of seeing the operating system on one billion devices. The 2015 Netmarketshare statistics show Windows 10 behind Windows 8.1, on just 9 percent of global computers. Windows 8.1, meanwhile, is on 11.15 percent, while reigning champion Windows 7 still sits up top on a whopping 56.11 percent.
However, it may not need to worry just yet if recent analyses are to be believed. A Gartner report released in November made the bold claim that Windows 10 will become the biggest version of Windows ever released. To achieve that, it would have to compete with Windows 7 and Windows XP, both of which have had the honor of holding the title previously.
With Windows 10, Microsoft is switching to a new upgrade process where components are improved through the Windows Update system. Moving away from the traditional release cycle, Microsoft is pitching Windows 10 as the last major release of the OS.