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How to download Windows 11 for free

Windows 11
(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Excitement is building as we near the launch of Windows 11, the next version of Microsoft's desktop OS. Redesigned from the ground up, Windows 11 promises to bring modern aesthetics and new features to an aging platform. If your PC meets the minimum requirements then you'll have the option to update to Windows 11 this holiday (Microsoft hints at an October release but has not provided an official launch date). 

Windows 11 may not be available just yet but there is a way to experience the OS prior to its official release. To do so, you'll need to enroll in Microsoft's Windows Insider Program and download the beta preview. Before you do, we don't recommend installing the beta build on your personal laptop or any system housing important data — bugs and glitches are expected on this pre-release version.

For everyone else, the official version of Windows 11 will begin rolling out in a few months, bringing with it a fresh interface and a handful of interesting new features, including widgets, a new app store, and snapping windows. Without further ado, here is how to download Windows 11 for free when it launches this fall. 

How to download Windows 11 when it arrives

Below are steps on how to download the official Windows 11 release when it starts rolling out this year. But first, we need to go over some fine print: not every system will be upgradable to Windows 11. You will need to check the Windows 11 system requirements before proceeding.

If your PC passes the test, jump to the steps below to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11. 

  • When Windows 11 becomes available on your PC, you'll be able to get it in the same way you download any new Windows version. First, go to Settings by selecting the Start Menu and the gear icon
  • Press "Update & Security" and make sure you're on the "Windows Update" tab (look on the left panel). 
  • Click "Check for Updates" on the top of the screen. 
  • If it has rolled out to your PC, you should see something like "Windows 11 feature update."
  • Click "Download and install." 
  • Your PC will download the update and restart afterward. This process could take some time so leave yourself a few hours just in case. 
Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.