Enterprises who are running Windows 7 can upgrade directly to Windows 10 when it gets released in 2015, says Windows infrastructure technical evangelist Jeff Alexander.
“Windows 10 will be very familiar to people who are on 7 and that’s why we are allowing people to go directly to it,” he told CIO Australia during TechEd in Sydney.
"For the desktop PC experience we learned a lot from the evolution of Windows 8, and 10 builds on the investments made in this version. We want users to be able to control how fast they get the latest updates, which is an evolution in the way we deliver Windows and why users can upgrade to Windows 10 regardless of the version they’re currently on, be it Vista, 7, or 8.”
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"We’re all humans writing the software and we learn from things we see in the marketplace,” he said.
One of those lessons was that people like having a desktop start button on Windows. Microsoft removed the start button from Windows 8 and made the operating system (OS) touch screen friendly.
“Windows 8 was a catalyst for touch device progress, and a big shift in what people were used to on the desktop. By removing the start button people were like, ‘What is this? How do I find stuff?” said Alexander.
“That’s why we’ve built a feedback application into Windows 10 because we want it to be the best operating system it can be. Technology is at its best when it adapts to the user, rather than vice-versa” he said.
He confirmed that Microsoft will bring back the start window and search function for Windows 10 based on “a lot of feedback” from enterprise customers.
When asked why Microsoft didn’t release Windows 9, he said that because there were so many changes made to 10, it warranted “more than one number upgrade".
According to Alexander, there have been 1 million downloads worldwide of the technical preview of Windows 10.
Microsoft is also promising customers who upgrade to Windows 10 a number of security features including the creation of secure user IDs and containerisation of business data.
In a blog post on October 1, Windows' United States enterprise program management lead, Jim Alkove, said the company has developed user IDs that customers can use when accessing devices, apps and sites.
According to Alkove, the user IDs will improve resistance to breach, theft or phishing attempts. “This approach is important because it takes the concept of multi-factor solutions such as smartcards or token-based systems and builds it right into the [Windows 10] OS,” he said at the time.
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick