A recent patch for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 appears to add the ability to notify users when Windows 10 is available, in line with the firm's promise that users will be offered a free upgrade to the latest version of the operating system.
The new update, which links to Knowledge Base article KB3035583 on Microsoft's online technical support site, looks at face value to be a fairly innocuous patch aimed at computers running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1).
However, when the patch is applied by Windows Update, it installs several files that appear to refer to notifications regarding Windows 10 and how to download it, as spotted by several newswires including tech enthusiast site Neowin.
Specifically, the text on the Knowledge Base article states that "This update enables additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications when new updates are available to the user. It applies to a computer that is running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)."
Microsoft showed off the features coming in Windows 10 at a live streamed event in January, when the firm promised that the upcoming new version of the platform will be made available as a free upgrade for all devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 for the first year following its release.
The new patch appears to be laying the groundwork for Microsoft to fulfil this promise, by notifying Windows users once the release code is available to download and install.
The software giant has yet to confirm exactly when this will happen, other than saying it will be available this summer, but a release candidate is widely expected to be made available to coincide with the Build developer conference at the end of this month.
Microsoft has confirmed that the platform will be available in 190 countries and 111 languages around the world from the date of its launch.
The firm also last month disclosed new technologies supported by Windows 10, including biometric authentication that uses facial, iris or fingerprint recognition instead of a password, and a new Project Spartan browser that will be the default for most users, although business users can specify IE11 if required.
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