Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be released July 29, but what it didn't say until now was that only a relatively small number of people will get Windows 10 this month.
Microsoft will initially release Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home on July 29. At this time, Microsoft will begin to ship the OS to OEMs, but it will take time for these companies to get products with the new OS ready. Also on July 29, Windows Insiders will be able to download a copy of Windows 10 and will be the first to use the new OS.
Soon after, Microsoft will ship Windows 10 to retailers around the world, who will then help their customers upgrade recently purchased products that originally had Windows 8.1.
Business customers will get the option to purchase a volume license of Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education and download the OS starting August 1.
For everyone else, the wait may take several more days, possible even a few weeks. Although Microsoft reported that there weren't any compatibility issues in the tests when upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, the company's method of rolling out Windows 10 implies otherwise.
The millions of people who reserved a copy of Windows 10 in June will get invitations to update in waves as compatibility with the user's previous OS is confirmed. Though the company might just be playing it safe, this does imply that there is at least some compatibility issue that Microsoft is still working on.
When it is time for you to upgrade, a notification will pop up informing you that your system is ready for the free upgrade.
Still, Microsoft's approach to releasing Windows 10 appears guarded. The Windows Insiders group is filled with millions of developers and end-users who have been testing Windows 10 for about a year now. If anyone would see a problem, it would likely be them. Then Microsoft adds in business customers, many of whom will have network administrators capable of identifying, testing, and reporting problems. Next comes a random sampling of people who reserved a copy of the new OS, and then finally the general public will get it.
Even if Microsoft is just playing it safe, this staggered rollout gives the impression that the company is worried something will go wrong. As a result, most users won't get the new OS until sometime in August. Hopefully, the release goes smoothly, however, and Windows 10 will make it out to everyone quickly.