On Tuesday evening, Microsoft finally named the date for the availability of Windows 11. The new Windows OS will become available starting from 5th October. From that date, consumers will be able to buy new PCs with Windows 11 pre-installed. In a change to telegraphed plans we heard earlier this year, the OS update will also start to roll out to eligible/qualifying Windows 10 PCs through Windows Update. Yes, Panos Panay is "pumped" about this news.
Microsoft says that its upgrade rollout will be "phased and measured with a focus on quality". From the blurb on the Windows Blog (linked top), it appears that Microsoft plans to trigger Windows Update notifications for those with newer PCs first, working its way down the market stack. It will also leverage its intelligence models to make sure systems less likely to have issues with the upgrade get served earlier. Microsoft expects to have offered free upgrades to all eligible systems by mid-2022.
If you think your PC is ready for Windows 11 – and you are too – then you will be able to 'prod' Windows Update to check and see if it is ready for your device. We have seen Windows Updates work like this for quite some time, and it seems to be a decent approach to satisfy the slow and steady, and eager early adopter crowds, and those in between.
Microsoft took the time in its blog post to recap the highlights of Windows 11 in 11 bullet points. As a reminder, you can find an abridged version of Microsoft's boastfulness below:
- New UI design
- Revamped Start Menu with Cloud and Microsoft 365 integration
- Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops
- Integrated Chat from Microsoft Teams
- Widgets for your personal feeds
- Windows 11 is "the best Windows ever for gaming," enabling DX12 Ultimate technology (see video below)
- There is a new Microsoft Store
- Improvements have been made to accessibility
- New developer opportunities are opened up by Win 11
- The new Windows is optimised for speed and efficiency and plurality of input
- Windows 11 delivers on the promise of hybrid working
Last but not least, Microsoft rounds off its blog post about the Windows 11 launch by highlighting some new PCs you might want to buy. Sadly there is nothing new to see though, these are just the latest laptops and hybrids from partners like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo – and some Surface devices (with up to 11th Gen Intel and AMD Ryzen 5000 processors). I had an inkling of hope for some Alder Lake device teases, but there were none…