The new Windows 10 preview is ready and free for intrepid testers

If you want to try out the slick new Windows 10 bits unveiled earlier this week, you’re in luck: Microsoft just pushed out the January version of its technical preview for desktops, complete with a few of the cool features Microsoft promised.

You can grab it by signing up for Windows Insider, a relatively new program for Windows beta testing, here. Windows Insider is free to sign up for, and when Windows 10 is officially launched, the consumer-friendly update will be free for the first year.

Beware — the technical preview isn’t for rookies. You shouldn’t install it on any machine you need to do work on. As Microsoft’s Windows Insider site puts it: “If, however, you think an ISO is some kind of yoga pose, this program may not be right for you.”

This build includes new Cortana integration into the start bar, as well as Continuum, a feature that improves the experience of switching from tablet mode to desktop mode on hybrid computers like Microsoft Surface. Not everything that will eventually end up in Windows 10 is included in this beta build. It lacks Microsoft’s new Spartan browser, for example. Although the build includes the new Xbox app, it doesn’t yet have the ability for an Xbox One to stream games directly to Windows 10 computers.

This build is only for desktops, and we still don’t know exactly when we’ll see the Windows 10 preview for phones. Microsoft promised it in February, so if you’re waiting on it you might as well sign up for Windows Insider now and download the Phone Insider app.

Live blog: Microsoft previews Windows 10 in Redmond

Microsoft’s consumer-focused Windows 10 reveal kicks off at company headquarters in Redmond, Washington today and we’re live from the event to see what the next version of Windows has in store.

We’re expecting Microsoft to share new details about how the desktop version of Windows 10 works, but the bigger questions facing Microsoft surround its mobile strategy and the next version of Windows for tablets and smartphones. Will Microsoft merge its Windows Stores for mobile and the desktop into a single cross-platform app store? Microsoft is also to announce new improvements and features for Cortana, its voice-activated assistant, as well as possibly a new browser codenamed “Spartan.”

Windows 10 also marks Microsoft’s first major Windows release since CEO Satya Nadella took over last year. He’ll be speaking today, so make sure to tune in starting at 9:00am PT.

Here’s what’s been announced so far:

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