Microsoft to finalize Windows 10 this week

Microsoft is planning to finalize Windows 10 this week, ahead of its official launch later this month. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is currently working on final copies of Windows 10, with a release to manufacturing (RTM) build expected later this week. RTM candidate builds have already been spotted online. Once the RTM build is ready, Microsoft will send the final copy of Windows 10 to its PC partners ahead of a release to the public on July 29th.

“We will never be done.”

While the RTM process has been a significant milestone for previous releases of Windows, it’s more of a minor one for Windows 10. Microsoft is moving Windows 10 to a “Windows as a service” model that means the operating system is regularly updated. That’s part of the reason Windows 10 is considered the “final version of Windows,” as regular updates means it’s never really finished. “We will never be done,” explained Windows chief Terry Myerson last week, and we’ll start to see future Windows 10 updates roll out regularly in the coming months. Those include extensions support for Microsoft’s Edge browser and many app updates for the built-in Windows 10 applications.

An example of Microsoft’s rapid progress with Windows 10 can be seen in recent builds that the company has provided to testers. Microsoft released three separate versions of Windows 10 last week (build 10158, 10159, and 10162) and each contained minor improvements. While there’s still a debate around the readiness of Windows 10, Microsoft has been squashing hundreds of bugs in the OS in just a week. Driver problems and other software bugs still remain on some systems, but the RTM milestone won’t mean these stay a problem for long. Once Microsoft has finalized Windows 10 this week the company will continue to work on bug fixes ready for the July 29th release date. Windows 10 testers will get a copy of the final version first, and the company will be rolling out the OS to the public in waves starting on July 29th.

Minecraft for Windows 10 beta arrives on July 29th launch day

Microsoft is bringing a “whole new version” of Minecraft to Windows 10 later this month. To celebrate the launch of Windows 10 on July 29th, a Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta will be released at the same time. Just like Windows 10 itself, Microsoft is planning to update its special version of Minecraft over time, and future updates will be free. If you already own and play Minecraft then the Windows 10 version will be free, and other players can obtain it for $10 during the beta period.

Xbox Live friends support included

This new version is effectively the Pocket Edition of Minecraft for all Windows 10 devices. You’ll be able to create and explore online with up to seven other friends using Xbox Live. An update, planned shortly after launch, will also add the ability to play online with other Pocket Edition players. Microsoft is adding support for controllers, touch, and keyboard controls to play Minecraft on Windows 10, so you will be able to use an Xbox One controller to navigate around.

While a full Windows Store version of Minecraft for Windows has been a long time coming, it’s not surprising this has finally arrived after Microsoft acquired Minecraft last year. Minecraft creator Markus Persson, known widely as Notch, famously criticized Microsoft and its Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft wanted a Windows Store version of Minecraft, but Notch said at the time “I’d rather have Minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along. Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to win 8 that way.” Alongside the new Windows 10 edition, Microsoft is also building a special version of Minecraft for its HoloLens headset.