The death of the optical drive in the PC space has been a long time coming, and while removable media is unlikely to go away any time soon, with consumers increasingly flocking to Ultrabooks and other form factors that can’t (or don’t) pack optical drives, the days of optical drives being available on virtually every PC have come to an end. In its place, USB has become the de facto format for removable media compatibility, as even the smallest MacBook comes with at least 1 USB port.

As a sign of the times, even Microsoft is not unaffected by this change, and after quite a bit of speculation over whether Microsoft would ship Windows 10 on a USB flash drive, the company has finally confirmed that retail versions of Windows 10 will be available on a USB drive. The company has opened up pre-orders for Windows 10 on Amazon, listing USB versions of both Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. These OSes are listed at their respective standard prices of $120 and $200, and while Amazon doesn’t list DVD versions, given that Windows 8.1 has the same MSRP, it doesn’t look like Microsoft is charging a premium for the USB version of the OS.

Both OSes are scheduled to ship on August 16th, a bit over two weeks after Windows 10 officially launches. Given the tight window between when the OS is expected to go RTM and when it’s released – officially Microsoft has still not publicly declared RTM – this gap is presumably for boxing and distributing the finished OS.

Source: VentureBeat

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  • Gigaplex - Sunday, July 19, 2015 - link

    They can't if you want it to work with UEFI. USB drives need to be FAT32 to be compatible with the UEFI spec as far as I'm aware.
  • FalcomPSX - Monday, July 20, 2015 - link

    this is true. This is also a baffling requirement.
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    The most recent build of Win10 (10240) is 3.83GB. So it would easily fit on a 4.7GB DVD. In fact it should fit on 4GB flash drives as well (so long as they're actually 4GiB).
  • yannigr2 - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    "This item will be released on August 30, 2015."

    They changed it?
  • Nexing - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    Yeah, 29 is really 39 lucky day, surprise! Ssssh
  • edzieba - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    I wonder if they'll use some sort of key embedding? If every install device can potentially be unique (unlike with CDs/DVDs), you can embed the product key on each USB key so it does not need to be entered manually during installation. Could be a bit iffy if you're used to using the same install media for multiple installs though.
  • fokka - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    thank god, those 4gb drives cant be that expensive. and read speed should be fine as well as long as MS isn't using complete garbage.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    Good. Now if only I could get redbox to rent me a movie on a stick. I skipped blu-ray entirely and have no intention of ever buyign another optical drive.
  • piasabird - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    I would like the option of just downloading just the license and a download program that can boot your computer and download windows 10 for an upgrade option. Just download the ISO in the background. I like this idea. I don't see why they cant just let people download it to an existing USB drive. Using a USB3 Drive should be an option. Another option should be ordering it on an SSD.
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    MS does sell a productkey + download online. IIRC they started doing so with 8.0.

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