Microsoft is currently rolling out the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, but in phases. However, users who want to take the eagerly awaited update for a spin can grab it from the company's servers now.
Newer PCs will be among the first receive the Anniversary Update, which commemorates a year since the launch of the Windows 10 operating system, according to Michael Fortin, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Core Quality unit.
"You don't have to do anything to get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, it will roll out automatically to you through Windows Update if you've chosen to have updates installed automatically on your device," said Fortin in an Aug. 2 announcement. "However, if you don't want to wait for the update to roll out to you, you can manually get the update yourself on your personal PC."
The process involves working one's way into Windows 10's update settings (Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update) and clicking on the Check for Updates button. A new option, labeled "Feature Update to Windows 10, version 1607," should appear. Clicking on it will initiate the download and install process.
On Windows 10 Mobile phones, the update will arrive in the coming weeks, Fortin said. Business users are encouraged to check with their IT departments before poking around, he added.
Somewhat fittingly, Microsoft first debuted the Windows 10 Anniversary Update during its Build developer conference on March 31 in San Francisco. Drawing applause from the coders in attendance, the company announced it was bringing the Bash Unix command shell to the operating system, along with other developer-centric innovations.
For consumers, the update includes a more capable Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant; Windows Ink; plug-in support for the Edge web browser; and other features that may extend the useful life of their PCs, at the expense of Windows OEMs, particularly if they took advantage of the now-defunct Windows 10 free upgrade offer. (The update remains available to customers who use assistive technologies.)
In the United States, more than 40 percent of consumers upgraded their PCs to Windows 10 by June 2016, according to a recent study from Gartner based on a pair of surveys conducted online with 1,161 and 1,185 respondents, respectively. The average age of an upgraded machine was just over four years, higher than the analyst group anticipated.
Half of the Windows 10 upgrades proved so successful that users are delaying replacements. Gartner expects this to weigh on the consumer PC market, lowering demand throughout 2016 and into early 2017.
Businesses, meanwhile, are gearing up for Microsoft's latest operating system.
By the end of 2017, large enterprises will migrate an estimated 40 percent of their PCs to Windows 10, Gartner stated. Approximately 60 percent of organizations expect the switch to affect 20 percent to 100 percent of their PC fleets. Eighty percent of enterprises will have kicked off some production deployments by the new year, with plans to complete their migrations sometime in 2019—roughly six months ahead of Windows 7, observed Gartner.