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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  • SleepyFE - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    In theory longevity is better then optical drives. If you take care when handling a DVD it lasts long enough. With USB you don't need to take care so much and as long as it's read only it will last very long.
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    Copy the contents to other media.
  • WinterCharm - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    Longevity with flash is only an issue when the wear leveling has already reached critical levels.

    Second, wear leveling only occurs when writing to the drive. These should be clean 1-cycle-written flash drives, and should easily last 10+ years.

    SSD's start losing data within a month of being stored on a shelf AFTER they've exhausted their entire write cycles and all the flash cells are very worn out. Otherwise, they have great data retention.
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    Any word on whether these USB drives are read-only or read-write?
  • JTWrenn - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - link

    Usb 2 or 3?
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    A lot of machines cannot boot from USB 3 so it'll probably be USB 2.
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 18, 2015 - link

    Fortunately, my USB 3 flash drive boots just fine on my ancient laptop with only USB 2.
  • pika2000 - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    Can Microsoft just allow people to download the flashable ISO for free? I mean seriously, you need to buy a serial to activate Windows anyway.
    I rather have an up-to-date version of Windows on demand ISO that I can download when I need it than an old Windows on USB that would need tons of patches when re-installed. That is assuming the USB is not lost.
  • Impulses - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    This, they already create ISOs and distribute ISOs for Insider, MSDNAA, etc... Why not just make it available to all, so much simpler.
  • Mushkins - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    They already do this for Windows 8, and if you buy Windows digitally you can download and burn the ISO.

    It says reset/refresh media, but it's actually just a standard Win 8/8.1 install image. I did this just yesterday to install on a new PC. You just type in your product key and it asks you what kind of media you want to create (usb/disk image/in place upgrade).

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