As you know, Microsoft has promised to make Windows 10 available on July 29, 2015. On that date, most of the Microsoft Stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico will be celebrating with special events. So, if you are interested, find a Microsoft Store near you.
Now that you know when Windows 10 will be available, you may be wondering what the actual release version will look like. Last week, Microsoft released Build 10240 of Windows 10, and I think this will be the actual Release To Manufacturing (RTM) candidate—even though Microsoft hasn't yet officially made that announcement. I'm basing my guess on the development branch name, the installation procedure, and the new desktop, which no longer displays the watermark. Let's take a closer look.
The development branch
Microsoft distributes Windows 10 builds to Windows Insiders via the most current development branch, and the branch name is listed in the filename displayed on the Windows Update screen. In January of 2015, the builds came from a branch named fbl_awesome1501 (Figure A). Here, the fbl stands for Feature Branch Level and awesome1501 stood for awesome in January 2015.
The first builds of 2015 came from the awesome branch.
In the February/March 2015 timeframe, the builds started coming from a branch titled fbl_impressive (Figure B).
Builds in the February/March 2015 timeframe came from the impressive branch.
The last build that I downloaded, prior to 10240, was 10166—and it too came from the fbl_impressive development branch (Figure C).
Build 10166 was the last Insider Preview to come from the impressive branch.
When I went to download Build 10240, I saw that the new build was coming from a branch titled TH1 (Figure D). After doing a bit of research, I discovered that TH1 stands for ThresHold1, and that is the branch that contains the Windows 10 RTM candidate builds. As you may recall, Threshold was the code name used for the Windows 10 operating system early on in the development cycle, as reported by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley back in December of 2013.
Build 10240 comes from the TH1 branch.
The new installation procedure
When I went to install Build 10240, I discovered that the installation procedure appears much more detailed and even includes the "legal stuff" screen (Figure E).
The Build 10240 install even includes the "legal stuff" screen.
The new desktop
The previous builds of Windows 10 had a watermark desktop that identified the operating system as being from the Windows 10 Insider Preview and included the Build number (Figure F).
All the preview builds included a watermark desktop wallpaper.
However, the desktop in Build 10240 doesn't have a watermark. In order to see the Build number, you have to access the About Windows dialog box (Figure G). As you can see, in addition to being listed as Build 10240, the dialog box list this as Version 10.0.
Build 10240's desktop doesn't include a watermark.
What's your take?
Based on what I've shown here, do you think that Build 10240 of Windows 10 is the RTM? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.