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W10_Desktop_Start_FOR-MNC-HEROMicrosoft this morning confirmed that Windows 10 will be released on July 29. In a geeky twist, the company turned to its virtual assistant Cortana to announce the release date.

“Windows 10 will be available on July 29, but you can reserve a copy now. Can’t wait to be on your PC,” Cortana says.

windows10-machine1But it isn’t just Cortana delivering the message. In this post, Microsoft operating systems chief Terry Myerson lays out the case for why Windows 10 will spark a “new generation of Windows.”

“With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices, including speech, touch, ink, and holograms,” Myerson wrote. “We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things.”

The Start menu also is coming back, as well as new facial and fingerprint recognition technologies for easy sign in on machines with supported hardware.

Windows 10 represents Microsoft’s chance to rebound from lackluster reception for Windows 8, released in 2012. Many users have been reluctant to upgrade to Windows 8, with its new interface designed to accommodate tablet users. Windows 8 and 8.1 have about 16 percent market share, compared with more than 57 percent for Windows 7, according to NetApplications data.

In addition to bringing back the desktop Start menu, Windows 10 addresses those concerns with features including “Continuum,” designed to enable smooth transitions between notebooks and tablet interfaces.

Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade for those running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. In fact, user of those older operating systems just started getting alerts to upgrade to the new OS. An icon appears in the Notifications area of the Taskbar. Mousing over it shows the text, “Get Windows 10,” with options including “Reserve your free upgrade,” “Go to Windows Update,” and “Get to Know Windows 10.”

W10-notification_For-Windows-Media-Gallery

It leads to this screen.

windows10reserve

Meanwhile, ZDNet reports that online retailer Newegg leaked OEM prices on the new Microsoft operating system. Microsoft Windows 10 Home is selling for $109.99, while Microsoft Windows Professional is selling for $149.99.

You can read more of GeekWire’s coverage on Windows 10 here, and here is Cortana making the announcement.

Here is Microsoft vice president Joe Belfiore talking about some of the new features in the operating system.

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