MICROSOFT is warning customers that their free upgrade to Windows 10 may complete but not be activated for several days.
A statement on the company website advises customers to "wait a few days and try again or just leave it and let it activate on its own. The activation servers might be overwhelmed."
The advice is hollow succour for those who, perhaps less tech-savvy, want the reassurance of knowing that they definitely have a working Windows. Microsoft revealed just a day after the launch of Windows 10 that the OS has already been installed on 14 million machines.
Windows 10 started its staged rollout at 5am BST on 29 July as Microsoft undertook one of the biggest software distributions in history, described by the company as like "buying pizza for 1.5 billion people".
The firm gushed gratitude for the praise heaped on the new operating system, and for the patience as the rollout continues. You can read our full Windows 10 review to see if we agree with the praise.
"As we’ve shared, our top priority has been ensuring that everyone has a great upgrade experience, so we are carefully rolling out Windows 10 in phases, delivering Windows 10 first to our Windows Insiders," Microsoft explained.
"While we now have more than 14 million devices running Windows 10, we still have many more upgrades to go before we catch up to each of you that reserved your upgrade."
The free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and 8.x is being rolled out in tranches over the coming days, starting with people on the Windows Insider programme who have shaped the evolution of the new 'eternal beta' that Microsoft describes as "Windows-as-a-service".
Initial reviews have been positive, after the disastrous Windows 8 which failed to gather any significant market share, while its predecessor, Windows 7, continued to gain ground as users bought it in preference to the preinstalled version.
Those who have responded to the request to 'reserve' a copy of Windows 10 in their system tray will be next to receive the OS in the coming days, followed by business users which we've confirmed will start rollout on 1 August.
A statement received from Microsoft said: "On 29 July we are announcing the availability of Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise for business customers.
"Starting 1 August, active Software Assurance customers who have Volume Licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education editions."
Anyone who doesn't qualify for a free update can purchase Windows 10 for £99 or Windows 10 Pro for £189.
The launch is not without its problems, however. There have been reports that Surface tablets are suffering owing to the new system of automatic patches and upgrades which is installing the wrong drivers for their machines and borking them accordingly.
In addition, the Cortana voice system that seems so chatty in adverts appears wooden and synthetic and doesn't actually have an opinion on Clean Bandit. We tried.
There is absolutely no point in hitting any refresh buttons in the hope of getting the upgrade quicker. You'll get it when you get it, maybe tomorrow, maybe by the weekend. With over a billion machines to upgrade, that's a lot of (clean) bandwidth.
Some users have reported that the system image downloads in a folder called C:\$windows.~BT ready to go live when it's their "turn" and that you can force it. We've already told you how you can download and run your own bootable USB of the final result from the Microsoft website.
Once you install, you have 30 days to decide whether or not to switch back to your old system which is held in limbo, just in case you find yourself missing all those tiles and no Start button.
We've had access to Windows 10 since the weekend and we're loving it so far. It feels like the Windows that Windows 8 should have been in the first place, with two years of feedback to get rid of the worst of the teething problems.
Microsoft held parties all over the world to celebrate the arrival of its new baby, inviting not just us press types, but the Insiders who have helped shaped Windows 10. It was past our bedtime, but that didn't stop The INQUIRER team popping down to wet the nipper's head. µ
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