Microsoft announces Windows 10, coming in 2015

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Windows 10

Microsoft officially unveiled its new operating system at an event in San Francisco this morning, but contrary to expectations, it's not Windows 9.

The version of Windows 10 on display at the presentation, reported by The Verge, is a "very early build," Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said. But it will offer a desktop/taskbar/Start menu layout that will be familiar to users of Windows 7. "In Windows 8 when users launched a modern app, it sort of had a different environment," he said. "We don't want that duality, we want users on PCs with mice and keyboards to have their familiar UI"

The idea here seems to be all things for all users: Windows 10 is intended to make multitasking easier for newcomers through its new "Task View" button, and it will also support multiple desktops, each capable of running multiple apps simultaneously. The command prompt is not only still around but has actually been improved, and Belfiore said Microsoft also intends to continue supporting Windows 8 users "who have touch machines and are getting a lot of benefit out of them."

It's still very early in the process, but Operating Systems Group chief Terry Myerson said Microsoft is "planning to share more than we have ever before, frankly earlier than we ever have before." The Windows Insider program will launch tomorrow at preview.windows.com, for users who know that "DLL is not the new OMG," while the full version of Windows 10 is expected to ship "later" in 2015.

As for why Microsoft opted to name the new operating system Windows 10 rather than the more sequentially-obvious Windows 9, or perhaps even Windows One, Myerson said only that once the new Windows is fully unveiled, "I think you'll agree with us that it's a more appropriate name."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.