Windows 10 Upgrade Prompt Hits Windows 7 and 8 PCs

For the past couple of weeks rumors have abounded suggesting Microsoft's massive new operating system is closer to the finish line than many of us expected. Early reports said the final build would release as early as July, and now listings on Newegg show a release date of August 31st for OEM licenses. But now it's official: while we don't know exactly when Windows 10 will hit, we know it's just around the corner.

If you are to boot up a computer running Windows 7 or 8 today, you'll likely see a new icon like this one sitting in your system tray:

Clicking the icon opens up a Windows 10 upgrade promo, offering users the opportunity to secure their free upgrades today so that the very instant Windows 10 is on the market it can be downloaded and installed on eligible PCs. The process is stupidly simple, requiring only the click of one button. The application will also request permission to send email notifications about Windows 10, but this is entirely optional.

Note that if you have multiple PCs running Windows 7 or 8, you will need to follow this process through on each individual computer to upgrade them all when the day arrives. But hey, no worries if you miss it—Microsoft makes sure to remind users that the free upgrade offer extends through the entire year following Windows 10's release. And for goodness sakes, no, it is not a trial or 1-year subscription to a paid OS with a recurring fee. You upgrade, Windows 10 is yours forever (or at least as long as you use that specific PC).

Not sure if your PC is up to snuff for Windows 10? No problem, as Microsoft has also built a verification tool into the upgrade promo app. This tool will check your existing hardware and peripherals for any compatibility issues and either give you the green light to upgrade or forewarn you of possible issues. Considering the system requirements for Windows 10 are practically identical to Windows 7 and 8 it's unlikely any problems will arise, but it's better to know what you're getting into beforehand than have some unpleasant surprises in store after the upgrade is already completed.

Again, Microsoft has yet to actually confirm a solid release date for Windows 10. UPDATE: Microsoft has stated July 29 is the official release date for Windows 10. Be sure to stay tuned to ThinkBoxly for more as it happens.