Although the final RTM version of Windows 10 was originally announced to start rolling out today, only a few select groups of people are guaranteed a copy as Microsoft prioritizes Insider Preview members, enterprise, and OEM partners over regular consumers. However, if you don't fall into one of these categories, Microsoft has now made it possible to download the Windows 10 ISO file directly from its site.
Of course, if you do choose to install Windows 10 from the disk image, you will be performing a clean install, meaning your files and apps won't immediately transfer over. Instead, they'll be stored in a folder called Windows.old. If that's fine by you, make sure you meet the prerequisites.
- An Internet connection.
- Ample storage space cleared on your PC or tablet (an external USB drive will suffice).
- A blank USB drive or DVD and DVD burner to create media.
- Read the official system requirements.
- A Windows product key (xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx) if you're installing for the first time. More info on product keys can be found on Microsoft' FAQ page.
As an option, you can install Windows 10 using the media creation tool from Microsoft. This tool integrates media creation options, optimized download speeds, and other installation benefits that aren't available elsewhere.
Microsoft's earlier detailed its plan to release Windows 10 "in waves, scaling up slowly after July 29th" to people who reserved copies ahead of its launch. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users are reporting that the update isn't available to them yet. This ISO thereby alleviates the inconvenience of waiting, if you're willing to compromise the easy transference of your old files.
You can read our review of Windows 10, which calls the OS "more flexible" than Mac OS X, and declares "it'll restore faith in those worried Microsoft was giving the cold shoulder to its most important platform; the traditional PC." You really should upgrade, and the .ISO ensures you can do it sooner rather than later.