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Microsoft Quietly Opens Windows 10 Pre-Orders On A New Physical Format

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Amazon's Prime Day, an interesting fact about Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10 operating system was discovered. Microsoft has listed pre-order pages for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro on Amazon.com. The interesting thing is that the OS will be available on USB Flash Drive.

We reached out to Microsoft to verify the validity of these listings, and we were told that Windows 10 will be available on USB flash drive shortly after the release of the operating system. Microsoft has also confirmed that, despite the cost of the flash drive, the new version will carry the same price tag as Windows 8.1.

On first consideration you might be wondering why Microsoft would be releasing hard copies of the OS when it is widely believed that everyone is getting a free upgrade. Although people who own a copy of Window 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, everyone else needs to buy it. You'd also need a copy if you build a brand new PC; something I expect many of our readers do every few years.

Releasing the OS on USB is certainly a new idea, but it's not really a big surprise. Optical drives have been getting less and less popular. Many laptops don't come with an option for one at all, and some recent desktop case designs have done away with 5.25-inch drive bays, such as the NZXT H440 used in our recent water cooled PC build. Windows has supported installation from USB drives since Windows XP, and Microsoft has made instructions readily available to create your own USB install drive. As a result, it was only a matter of time before we would see Windows available this way from the factory.

Microsoft stated that USB copies of Windows 10 will be available shortly after the release, which is scheduled for July 29. Amazon's site states the release date for these items is set for August 30. Currently, Windows 10 Home is priced at $120, and the Pro version will set you back $200. DVD versions have not been listed for pre-order yet, and it is unclear if there will be any in the future.

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  • gangrel
    And while a stick costs more than a blank disc, what's the wholesale cost of a 4 Gb stick? Not much. And I wonder what the duplication rate is...I would think it'd be much faster, and quite probably cheaper, to create 1000 sticks, as opposed to 1000 DVDs.
    Reply
  • none12345
    A dvd probably costs about 1/100 of a cent to produce. Its injection molded.

    But against a $100 licence cost, the $1 or so for the usb drive in bulk is nothing.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    I hope you can buy a downloadable copy of windows 10 then just put it on your own USB drive. When windows 8 Pro was available for $20 a few years ago, I got it and it was a download off Microsoft.
    Reply
  • atheus
    Yo Crashman, aren't you glad I called Satya about that thing we talked about?
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    16272223 said:
    And while a stick costs more than a blank disc, what's the wholesale cost of a 4 Gb stick? Not much. And I wonder what the duplication rate is...I would think it'd be much faster, and quite probably cheaper, to create 1000 sticks, as opposed to 1000 DVDs.

    It is also smarter since every new PC for the past 10 years has been able to boot to a flash drive and newer PCs are not coming with DVDs anymore since streaming and downloading has become much more common place. Most software you buy these days can be downloaded.

    16272274 said:
    I hope you can buy a downloadable copy of windows 10 then just put it on your own USB drive. When windows 8 Pro was available for $20 a few years ago, I got it and it was a download off Microsoft.

    It was $45 if you pre-ordered it and if you had bought a PC recently or a copy of 7 you could get it for $15 bucks instead. Thats what I did. Was well worth it.
    Reply
  • Karadjgne
    Guess I'm kinda old fashioned, I like my DVD. I've used the original DVD exactly 1 time, just to make a full copy, and after that I've used the copy a few times. Currently, the copy is now history courtesy of a scratch. What I haven't done, is lost the DVD, can't say as I can say that about a few USB sticks that developed legs. Or the USB I had some photos on that got erased when I failed to pay attention to what was actually on it.

    I like the idea of the USB stick, especially for those with a case like nzxt h440, but I would still like the option. Wondering what's going to happen when I overwrite my 7 pro with direct dl of 10 from Windows. Thats gonna be a messy reinstall for sure.
    Reply
  • ohim
    Guess I'm kinda old fashioned, I like my DVD. I've used the original DVD exactly 1 time, just to make a full copy, and after that I've used the copy a few times. Currently, the copy is now history courtesy of a scratch. What I haven't done, is lost the DVD, can't say as I can say that about a few USB sticks that developed legs. Or the USB I had some photos on that got erased when I failed to pay attention to what was actually on it.

    I like the idea of the USB stick, especially for those with a case like nzxt h440, but I would still like the option. Wondering what's going to happen when I overwrite my 7 pro with direct dl of 10 from Windows. Thats gonna be a messy reinstall for sure.
    You can loose a DVD just as fast as an USB stick, just don`t use on daily basis that USB stick. Also, you install way much faster from a USB stick than from a DVD. My record was around 3-4 minutes from the first Next, till windows asked me for the finishing touches.
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    makes sense. more and more devices are coming without disc drives now. it's only a matter of time when disc drives go the way of the floppy disc as thumb drives continue to get cheaper and cheaper per gb. I have a disc drive on my laptop and I don't think I've ever used it once out of the 3 years that I've had this laptop. all my installations have been through over the internet, external HDD's or thumb drive devices. I honestly think the last time I burnt anything onto a disc was like 7 or 8 years ago..
    Reply
  • gangrel
    DVDs won't go away....just the built-in ones. An external USB 3.0 DVD will work just fine.

    And small form factor is growing. We've got Gigabyte, Intel, and MSI to name 3 off the top of my head. And plenty of mini-ITX cases don't handle a DVD drive.

    So I do agree that the DVD option isn't going ti disappear any time soon...but I think the *preferred* options will transition to a flash stick or a download.

    Oh, and I track my OS sticks by tagging them, then hanging them on one of those small Command wall hooks, on the side of my computer desk. The tagging is just so I know what's on there, obviously; but probably Microsoft will label their stick with a Windows logo. Tagging probably won't be needed.
    Reply
  • danlw
    I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. If it's a fast flash drive, the install should go quicker also.

    I would prefer an SD card format, personally. They would fit into an SD wallet better than USB drives (assuming more software vendors follow suit) But as common as SD cards are, they aren't quite as universal as USB.
    Reply