Mark your calendars, Windows fans. Microsoft has announced that its next and heavily anticipated installment of Windows, Windows 11, will be available on October 5, 2021.
On that date, Microsoft will begin rolling out Windows 11 as a free upgrade to “eligible Windows 10 PCs.” The first PCs that come pre-loaded with the operating system should also be available to purchase that month.
Microsoft has noted that the free upgrade to Windows 11 will be rolled out in a phased and measured approach. New eligible devices will get the upgrade first. It will then roll out over time to other devices based on “intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device, and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.”
That said, Microsoft expects that all eligible devices will have received the Windows 11 upgrade by mid-2022.
Here are 11 major highlights of Windows 11, per Microsoft:
- The new design and sounds are modern, fresh, clean and beautiful, bringing you a sense of calm and ease.
- With Start, we’ve put you and your content at the center. Start utilizes the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show you your recent files no matter what device you were viewing them on.
- Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops provide an even more powerful way to multitask and optimize your screen real estate.
- Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated into the taskbar provides a faster way to connect to the people you care about.
- Widgets, a new personalized feed powered by AI, provides a faster way to access the information you care about, and with Microsoft Edge’s world class performance, speed and productivity features you can get more done on the web.
- Windows 11 delivers the best Windows ever for gaming and unlocks the full potential of your system’s hardware with technology like DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage and Auto HDR. With Xbox Game Pass for PC or Ultimate you get access to over 100 high-quality PC games to play on Windows 11 for one low monthly price. (Xbox Game Pass sold separately.)
- Windows 11 comes with a new Microsoft Store rebuilt with an all-new design making it easier to search and discover your favorite apps, games, shows, and movies in one trusted location. We look forward to continuing our journey to bring Android apps to Windows 11 and the Microsoft Store through our collaboration with Amazon and Intel; this will start with a preview for Windows Insiders over the coming months.
- Windows 11 is the most inclusively designed version of Windows with new accessibility improvements that were built for and by people with disabilities.
- Windows 11 unlocks new opportunities for developers and creators. We are opening the Store to allow more developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to bring their apps to the Store, improving native and web app development with new developer tools, and making it easier for you to refresh the look and feel across all our app designs and experiences.
- Windows 11 is optimized for speed, efficiency and improved experiences with touch, digital pen and voice input.
- Windows 11 is the operating system for hybrid work, delivering new experiences that work how you work, are secure by design, and easy and familiar for IT to deploy and manage. Businesses can also test Windows 11 in preview today in Azure Virtual Desktop, or at general availability by experiencing Windows 11 in the new Windows 365.
Windows users who don’t care about Windows 11 can stick with Windows 10 for a couple of years, as the current version of the OS will be supported until October 14, 2025. Windows 10 is also getting a new feature update later this year.
Today, we are thrilled to announce Windows 11 will start to become available on October 5, 2021. On this day, the free upgrade to Windows 11 will begin rolling out to eligible Windows 10 PCs and PCs that come pre-loaded with Windows 11 will start to become available for purchase. A new Windows experience, Windows 11 is designed to bring you closer to what you love.