The rollout of Windows 11 begins on Oct. 5 for eligible devices in a “phased and measured approach to focus on quality,” Microsoft announced in a blog post. First up for the free upgrade: Eligible Windows 10 PCs and PCs pre-loaded with Windows 11 that will soon become available for purchase, it said.
Microsoft took the wraps off its latest operating system in June to developers and invited insiders to poke around a preview version a month later. The blog post from Aaron Woodman said engagement and feedback were “unprecedented,” adding, “The Windows Insider community has been an invaluable community in helping us get to where we are today.”
After eligible devices, the upgrade continues 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,” Microsoft said. It expects all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.
SEE: Windows 11 cheat sheet: Everything you need to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
As TechRepublic has reported, Windows 11 is Microsoft’s newest major release of its operating system and the successor to Windows 10, which debuted almost six years ago. The OS features an all-new simplified, yet modernized, interface and was designed to inspire productivity and creativity.
When Windows 11 was introduced, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay said in a blog post it was “designed to bring you closer to what you love.”
“The responsibility of designing for that many people is one we don’t take lightly,” he wrote. “The past 18 months brought an incredible shift in how we used our PCs; we went from fitting the PC into our lives to trying to fit our whole lives into the PC.”
“What was so powerful was the shift in the PC we saw and felt—from something practical and functional to something personal and emotional,” Panay said. “This is what inspired us as we were building the next generation of Windows. To build you a place that feels familiar, where you can create, learn, play and most importantly, connect in all new ways.”
For those using Windows 10 PCs, Windows Update will say when Windows 11 is available or users can check for updates by going to Settings> Windows Update.
SEE: Photos: Windows 11 features you need to know (TechRepublic)
Microsoft said it would be introducing the PC Health Check app soon, as another way to check to see if your current PC will be eligible to upgrade. (Here are the minimum system requirements.)
In celebration of Windows 11, Microsoft offered these 11 highlights:
- 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 artificial intelligence, 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.