Microsoft finally confirmed the official release date for Windows 11 this Tuesday. The latest version of Microsoft’s operating system will make its public debut on October 5th, 2021. As was previously announced, Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs. Computers preloaded with Windows 11 will also be available starting on the same day.
Windows 11 release date: October 5th
Windows 11, much like Windows 10, will roll out in phases over the coming weeks and months. At first, Microsoft will seed the upgrade to eligible devices. If you want to know if your device is eligible, check this document on Microsoft’s support site. Following that, Windows 11 “will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.”
Aaron Woodman, General Manager of Windows Marketing, says that Microsoft expects every eligible device to be offered the free upgrade by mid-2022. Once your Windows 10 device is eligible, Windows Update will let you know when you can upgrade. If you’re getting antsy, you can also manually check by going to Settings > Windows Update and clicking “Check for updates.”
Microsoft also took the opportunity to highlight some of the most notable features of Windows 11. As you’ve seen in screenshots and videos, Microsoft has totally refreshed the user interface. Everything from the Start menu to the toolbar to the menus look and sound different on Windows 11. Microsoft is also introducing Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and Desktops to improve multitasking. Microsoft has also integrated Teams directly into the toolbar. There are also new Widgets, an overhauled Microsoft Store, accessibility improvements, and more.
Finally, it’s worth noting that some Windows 11 features will not be available at launch. For example, support for Android apps won’t be ready on day one, but a preview for Windows Insiders is coming.
Windows 10 will be supported into 2025
If you want to make sure that your device is eligible for Windows 11, Microsoft will soon relaunch the PC Health Check app. If you are not able to upgrade your device, there’s good news. Microsoft plans to continue supporting Windows 10 through October 14th, 2025. Beyond supporting the aging OS, Microsoft also recently announced a feature update for Windows 10 coming in 2021.
Notably, even if your computer does fail the health check, you can still apply the upgrade. It’s a slightly more complicated process, and there are still minimum specifications to be wary of, but at least it’s possible.