In a statement to VentureBeat, Microsoft said, "Windows 10 will be available on USB drives for purchase in retail channels shortly after launch. The suggested retail prices for Windows 10 in the US are the same as Windows 8.1."
Although Windows 10 launches on 29 July via digital download and physical disks, the Amazon listings state the USB drives will be released on 30 August - consistent with Microsoft's "shortly after launch" statement. The flash drives will cost $119.99 for the Home version and $199.99 for Pro version, the same as digital and on DVD.
German publication WinFuture.de was the first to report on a possible USB launch back in June, citing insider sources who claimed that the USB option will join the more conventional DVD packaged option in shops.
Author and journalist Paul Thurrott had also suggested on Twitter that this was going to happen.
Looks like Microsoft will be selling Windows 10 on a USB stick at retail, btw.— Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) June 18, 2015
The WinFuture report has additional details, including the suggestion that Microsoft will package 32bit and 64bit SKUs on the drive, letting users choose which to install. It adds that the drive will be designed for installing on one PC only. V3 reached out to Microsoft to confirm this back in June but has yet to receive a response.
Offering Windows 10 on flash drives is a sensible evolution of the delivery network. Many laptops do not come with a DVD drive in 2015 and a separate drive, or indeed number of USB drives, is common.
Microsoft is already being accommodating with the Windows 10 release and many users, including pirates, are expecting to be served it for free when it is released in July.
Microsoft, which is still actively supporting the long-expired Windows XP with some organisations, will be keen to ship as many copies of Windows 10 as possible.
Many users will be upgraded to the new OS automatically and for free. That unusual offer was announced by Microsoft's head of operating systems Terry Myerson, who told Reuters, "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10."
Another, more recent announcement from the firm caused some confusion about when and where the free upgrade would be provided.
"Once you have successfully installed this build, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh," said a blog signed off by Windows 10 spokesman Gabriel Aul.
"It's important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer."
Some users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have started to see a notification on the desktop about the free upgrade Microsoft is offering.
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