Microsoft Releases Windows 10 As A Free Upgrade


Microsoft today released Windows 10 as a free upgrade for users of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.

Microsoft calls Windows 10 ‘The Best Windows Ever’, highlighting these features:

  • Windows 10 offers a familiar Start menu, Taskbar, and Desktop so it’s easy to get started with.
  • Windows 10 is designed to be compatible with the hardware, software and peripherals you already own.
  • With OneDrive online storage, you can easily share and keep your files up to date across all your devices, simply.
  • Voice, Pen and Gesture input allow you to more naturally interact with your PC.
  • Windows 10 is designed to run Office and Skype perfectly to increase your productivity.
  • The Cortana personal digital assistant makes it easy to find the right information at the right time.
  • You can easily switch between apps and stay organized with Snap and Task View.
  • Continuum optimizes your apps and experience across touch and desktop modes.
  • New Microsoft Edge browser allows you to quickly browse, read, and even mark up and share the web.
  • The integrated Xbox App delivers the Xbox experience to Windows 10, bringing together your friends, games, and accomplishments across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
  • The Companion Phone app lets you set up your iPhone, Android or Windows phone to work seamlessly with your Windows device.
  • Built-in apps including Photos, Maps, Microsoft’s new music app Groove, and Movies & TV, offer entertainment and productivity options.

Here’s a playlist of Microsoft’s official intro videos for Windows 10:

Key Features of Windows 10 for Musicians and Music Apps:

  • Greater emphasis on traditional laptop/desktop users
  • Universal app development – features & API’s available across all devices, promising more music app development for more devices
  • New MIDI API – available across all devices (desktop, tablet, phone, etc), multi-client support, reduce jitter
  • Improved audio stack performance – promises to shave approx 15ms off of audio latency, ‘opt-in’ to lower buffers for even lower latency
  • ‘Opt-in’ dedicated audio core – option to move audio processing to dedicated processor core for improved performance
  • WASAPI enhancements
  • AudioGraph – new API, built on WASAPI, offers ‘higher-level constructs’ for working with audio
  • New Codecs – FLAC, ALAC
  • Web Audio – included in Microsoft Edge, lets you use browser-based music apps

For detailed info on the new OS’s features, see our post on Windows 10 audio and MIDI features for musicians.

Windows 10 is a free download from the Microsoft site. Make sure your music apps and hardware are compatible before you update.

If you’ve used Windows 10, leave a comment and let us know what you’re using and how it’s working for you.

19 thoughts on “Microsoft Releases Windows 10 As A Free Upgrade

  1. Thanks for the details on the audio and MIDI changes.

    It seems like Microsoft is continuing with their history of alternating terrible OS releases with good ones. Windows 10 looks like it may actually offers some interesting new tech for musicians.

    I’m still going to wait until at least service pack 1 to upgrade, though. I’ve learned the hard way in the past on that, and I don’t see any must-have features in this.

  2. Interesting video – if you’re using Windows on your music computers, it’s worth viewing the whole thing.

  3. Windows 8.1 is actually very much improved over Win 7. I love the live tiles which are many steps above dumb icons that populate Win 7 and Mac screens. However, Win 10 appears to have quite a few improvements, for both cell phones and PCs. I look forward to trying it out.

  4. does anyone know if this new midi system will allow multiple applications/plugins to access a single midi device? Basically, are we now going to be able to avoid the error “midi device in use by another application”? 🙂

    1. I’d much rather control my midi through windows than my DAW and be able to route it like you say. It would be nice to be able to control Sysex and NRPN gear when using Ableton!

  5. I remember when I abandoned Windows world and switched to Mac. At this moment Windows doesn’t seem to want my kind of people back on their ship. Whenever I see or have to work with Windows it just doesn’t make any sense. It’s all too complicated and it asks user everything – all the unnecessary things an average user doesn’t know anything about. Or when an error pops up – it is something like there’s an error in ER2340909790. My all time favorite was in Windows 7 – An error Window popped up and there was written: Unknown Error and there was a possibility to press OK. Why?
    I can imagine that if a new Windows would come out and it would be perfect and without all that bullshit it gives it’s user to think a about, then it will take at least 4-5 versions until my kind of people would be thinking of getting back to it. OS has to be transparent and with a beautiful and not complicated GUI. If user has to think about the OS, then it’s not worth the time spent with it.

    1. As for the new interface, it actually is pretty intuitive if you take a look at it with fresh eyes. Unfortunately most of us have looked at other OS implementations over the years and its hard to adjust. I have the exact same problem when I try to work with a Mac. That doesn’t make the OS bad, just different. That’s a good thing because different people think differently.

  6. Wow, Microsoft is really doubling down on this image of Microsoft as the Indian software company. How did switching over to all India workforce work for IBM?

  7. I installed it today. Cubase 8 is still running, no problems so far 🙂 In fact, the GUI of my DAW is now better displayed than before. Previously under Windows 7, the Cubase surface had some elements that were just too tiny. Thanks Microsoft for the free update!

    1. This has always been Microsoft’s dream, to be like a utility company and it’s almost at fruition. I don’t mind paying for development of a good operating system but I’ll never pay month to month for it or sign any contracts for one.

  8. Will M$ ever do something original? Sounds like OS X features which most have been there since the good old NeXT days. I only wish Apple would release a version for Intel & AMD machines, but that’s against the agreement between Jobs and Gates. Both companies have partitioned the market into two pieces, a method that’s forbidden in Europe. The EU comission should use it’s power to open OSX to other hardware and have M$ to produce Windows for Apple hardware (which already works).

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