Windows 10 is a series of personal computer operating systems produced by Microsoft as part of its Windows NT family of operating systems. It is the successor to Windows 8.1, and was released to manufacturing on July 15, 2015, and broadly released for retail sale on July 29, 2015. Windows 10 receives new builds on an ongoing basis, which are available at no additional cost to users. Mainstream builds of Windows 10 are labeled version YYMM with YY representing the year and MM representing the month of release. For example, Version 1809 for September 2018. There are additional test builds of Windows 10 available to Windows Insiders. Devices in enterprise environments can receive these updates at a slower pace, or use long-term support milestones that only receive critical updates, such as security patches, over their ten-year lifespan of extended support.
One of Windows 10's most notable features is support for universal apps, an expansion of the Metro-style apps first introduced in Windows 8. Universal apps can be designed to run across multiple Microsoft product families with nearly identical code—including PCs, tablets, smartphones, embedded systems, Xbox One, Surface Hub and Mixed Reality. The Windows user interface was revised to handle transitions between a mouse-oriented interface and a touchscreen-optimized interface based on available input devices—particularly on 2-in-1 PCs, both interfaces include an updated Start menu which incorporates elements of Windows 7's traditional Start menu with the tiles of Windows 8. Windows 10 also introduced the Microsoft Edge web browser, a virtual desktop system, a window and desktop management feature called Task View, support for fingerprint and face recognition login, new security features for enterprise environments, and DirectX 12.
Windows 10 received mostly positive reviews upon its original release in July 2015. Critics praised Microsoft's decision to provide a desktop-oriented interface in line with previous versions of Windows, contrasting the tablet-oriented approach of 8, although Windows 10's touch-oriented user interface mode was criticized for containing regressions upon the touch-oriented interface of Windows 8. Critics also praised the improvements to Windows 10's bundled software over Windows 8.1, Xbox Live integration, as well as the functionality and capabilities of the Cortana personal assistant and the replacement of Internet Explorer with Microsoft Edge. However, media outlets have been critical of changes to operating system behaviors, including mandatory update installation, privacy concerns over data collection performed by the OS for Microsoft and its partners and the adware-like tactics used to promote the operating system on its release.
Microsoft aimed to have Windows 10 installed on at least one billion devices in the two to three years following its release. Up to August 2016, Windows 10 usage was increasing, with it then plateauing, while eventually in 2018, it became more popular than Windows 7 (though Windows 7 is still more used in most countries in Asia and Africa) and thus the single most used Windows version overall (at 48.18%, thus the other more used overall), though not on some continents as measured by web traffic. As of September 2018, the operating system is running on more than 700 million devices and has an estimated usage share of 32% on traditional PCs, making it the most popular verison of Windows and the largest usage share of an OS overall, and 15% across all platforms (PC, mobile, tablet, and console).