Windows 11 is set to arrive on select PCs on October 5, Microsoft confirmed today. On launch day, new devices with Windows 11 pre-installed will be made available for purchase, and a phased rollout will begin, bringing the new OS to eligible Windows 10 laptops and desktops. Microsoft says all devices meeting its hardware requirements will be offered the free software update by mid-2022.
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"New eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. The upgrade 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," Microsoft clarified.
How to download Windows 11: PC requirements
Microsoft hasn't made any significant changes to its eligibility requirements, meaning millions of devices could be incompatible with the OS. As it stands, Windows 11 requires PCs to support the TPM 2.0 security chip and be powered by an Intel 8th Gen CPU or newer. You can view the full system requirements here or wait for the PC Health Check app, which launches "soon."
The software giant didn't clarify its policy on manually upgrading to Windows 11, but stressed that non-eligible devices should stick with Windows 10. The soon-to-be-replaced OS will receive support until October 14, 2025, with a new feature update arriving later this year.
If your system is eligible for the upgrade, the Windows Update tool will notify you once it becomes available. To check the upgrade status manually, you can go to Settings>Windows Update and select Check for updates.
We've been testing Windows 11 in its pre-release form for several weeks and there is no denying the transformation it will bring to Microsoft's desktop platform. Below is a rundown of some of the new features coming to Windows.
Windows 11 features
Windows 11 is, above all else, a visual overhaul of an aging OS. Built upon Microsoft's Fluent design language, new interfaces, icons, and animations give Windows a modern look and feel. Live Tiles are gone and the Start Menu was repositioned to the middle of the Taskbar where you'll find pinned apps, recent files, and the ability to shut down or restart your device.
The Taskbar is where some of the most interesting new features are housed, including a new Widget tool that presents information relevant to your interests. Microsoft Teams is even built directly into the bottom panel.
The search feature in Windows 11 is more advanced and will show you the location of your recent files no matter which device you're on. And while we're talking about productivity, the new Snap Layouts and Snap Groups features give you more multi-window layout options than before.
Windows 11 will launch with a redesigned Microsoft Store that promises to make finding the right apps, movies and games easier than before. Microsoft knows the success (or failure) of the store hinges on gaining support from developers, so it will support more app stypes and give creators the option to use their own or a third-party commerce platform.
Improved accessibility settings, enhancements to the gaming experience, and fresh touch-friendly interfaces for tablets and 2-in-1 devices round out the major changes coming to the OS. Unfortunately, not every new feature will arrive at launch. For example, Android app support, one of the major additions to the OS, will only reach its preview stage in the coming months, so expect it to arrive next year.
Windows 11 laptops
Microsoft isn't wasting any time pushing customers to purchase new laptops. It listed several already available devices that are confirmed to receive the Windows 11 update later this year or in early 2022. Keep in mind that if you want to be among the first to use Windows 11, you may need to wait until October 5 to purchase a laptop with the OS pre-installed.
Along with the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 4, the Acer Swift 5, Acer Swift X, Asus ZenBook Flip 13, Asus ZenBook 14 UX425, Alienware x15 and x17, Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre x360 14, HP Envy x360 15, Lenovo Yoga 7, Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i, and the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro and Book Pro 360, will receive the Windows 11 update.
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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.