Windows 10 to be Sold on USB Drives… FINALLY!
Today marks a true achievement in operating system installation procedure: Windows 10 will be sold on USB drives!
Let me tell you why this is so amazing. See, I’ve been installing operating systems for quite a while. I think the first one I did on my own was Windows 95 back in… whatever year that came out; who can be sure?! It came on a stack of 13 floppy disks. Windows 98, 2000, and XP all came on CDs, which was much easier than installing from a stack of floppies. (Though you’d still need a floppy drive to install the OS most of the time since there was almost always a driver or two you’d have to load that weren’t included on the disk.) Around the time of Windows 98, this wasn’t a problem, because most computers had floppy drives. Fast forward to Windows XP’s release 2001, and it still wasn’t a huge problem. But by 2005, floppies were being phased out due to the rising popularity of USB thumb drives.
In 2007, Windows Vista was released, to the delight of no one. Personally, I never purchased or installed it on anything. But I did remove it to install XP several times for those poor souls who purchased computers with Vista pre-loaded. So until Windows 7 was released in late 2009, myself (and many, MANY others) had to keep a floppy disk drive around for EIGHT YEARS, and SOLELY for the purpose of installing Windows XP. And sure, there were tools released (by hackers) to make your own custom Windows XP CDs, which included the necessary service packs and drivers “slipstreamed” onto the disk. Ahh, those disks made life so much easier, even though I had to customize and burn a new CD for almost every new computer encountered.
By the time Windows 7 hit the scene, DVD-ROM drives were pretty common, so Microsoft released it on DVD. The operating system installer was also smart enough to connect to the internet and download any updates. However, if you were doing an offline install, or if you needed some special drivers, you were still going to need something else. Usually the best course of action was to stick the driver onto a USB drive; but the absolute best way to install Windows 7 was to find & download the most up-to-date ISO image, and then make a bootable Windows 7 USB install drive. Eventually, Microsoft released tools to help you make these, although if you didn’t know to look for them, there wasn’t an obvious way for Joe Consumer to do it.
I’m told Windows 8 was similar, but my experience with 8 is pretty much the same as it was with Vista. I’ve removed it more times than I’ve installed it, but they still didn’t have an easy USB install option.
But now the wait is over. The day has finally come. An idea that’s a solid eight years late: Windows 10 will be sold on USB drives! No more floppy disks, no more finding & burning ISO images to a CD – we now have everything we need to complete a Windows install in one, handy place.
You might think this celebration is for the CRISM Confirmation. Wrong. Computer nerds everywhere celebrate this achievement.
Windows 10 is free for the first year for all Windows 7 and 8 users. So you probably don’t need to buy it unless you’re building a new computer, or if you don’t have a genuine version already. If you fall into either category, get Windows 10 on USB here, or Windows 10 Pro on USB here.