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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  • benedict - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    The best option would be that all OEM PCs that come with Windows preinstalled have an option to download and install Windows in BIOS. Why do we still need an external drive like a DVD or USB?
  • Michael Bay - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    Just imagine the antitrust wailing if such was the case.
  • Gigaplex - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    Apple has that feature already, it doesn't prevent using an alternate OS, and is a benefit to the user. Secure Boot on the other hand has much greater antitrust implications, especially now that Windows 10 machines don't need to provide a way to disable it anymore.
  • Michael Bay - Sunday, July 19, 2015 - link

    Apple share of the market protects it from anitrust action, and Microsoft share encourages it.
    Remember recent browser bullshit in EU and extrapolate.
  • Gunbuster - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    I wonder if it will be a UEFI formatted USB?
  • Agent Smith - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    I doubt it as UEFI would need at least 35Gb space which would cost MS more in costs.
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    UEFI? I suspect you mean GPT?

    No. If I had to guess, it will be MBR, formatted FAT32. UEFI is designed to boot/install from FAT32 no matter the partition table type, and MBR also means it will be compatible with legacy BIOS systems that still need a boot sector.
  • WaltC - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

  • Wolfpup - Friday, July 17, 2015 - link

    I wonder if these are ROM rather than Flash? I hope they are, so they're more permanent...

    Otherwise I have no problem with the change, that I can think of.
  • benzosaurus - Sunday, July 19, 2015 - link

    Now if booting off a USB drive could just stop being a Byzantine nightmare, particularly with Apple "EFI."

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