Sometime after July 29, Windows 10 is going to start showing up in your business as employees either bring new PCs to work or upgrade their existing machines. Microsoft says it has had millions of reservations for the free Windows 10 upgrade. But despite the launch date, that's not going to happen overnight.
Who will get Windows 10? Who won't?
The new version of Windows will go out in stages, even to users who have pre-registered through the app in Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1. Members of the Windows Insider program will get it first, and once the feedback and telemetry from their upgrades show that there are no significant problems, other users who have reserved their download will start getting it and those downloads will be staggered as well. Windows Phones won't be getting Windows 10 until the fall, but users with small Windows tablets like the Dell Venue Pro 8 and the HP Stream 7 will get updates beginning on July 29.
You don't have to worry about upgrades happening on work PCs without you knowing about it. Volume licences of Windows don't qualify for the free upgrade, and the Get Windows 10 app won't appear on any PC that's joined to a domain, whatever the licence.
BYOD spells support
Most enterprises won't need formal management tools for Windows 10 yet, because enterprise deployments are likely some way off, even though the business editions of Windows 10 are shipping. Windows 10 Pro will be available on July 29, which is also when the evaluation version of Windows 10 Enterprise will be on MSDN. Windows 10 Enterprise (and the new Windows 10 Education edition) will be available for download on the Volume Licensing Service Center on August 1, because that's when Microsoft's Product Terms will be updated (this is the document that replaces both the Product Use Rights and the Product List).
If you have users (or members of your IT team) who are testing the Windows 10 technical preview on a PC that was running an Enterprise edition of Windows 7 or 8.1, they won't get a flight that takes them to the final version of Windows 10 Enterprise. They will need to install from the Windows 10 Enterprise media and activate with Volume Activation to get the final code.
But if BYOD is significant in your business, your help desk will need to get prepared to support users working with a new interface that's subtly different from both Windows 7 and Windows 8, and using the new Edge browser and the touch-optimized Office Mobile apps (including the mobile Outlook apps for mail and calendar) that are designed for on-the-go editing. You'll also need to think about Office licensing; those free Office apps are for personal use only and can technically only be used for business purposes if you have an Office 365 licence covering those employees (as is the case today for Office for iPad and Android).
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.