Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 11, will officially launch on 5 October 2021.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Windows Marketing general manager Aaron Woodman confirmed the upgrade will be free to Windows 10 users.
The operating system will be rolled out in phases from 5 October, beginning with new eligible devices and expanding to devices already in the market in the coming months.
Woodman explained this was being done based on the company’s “tremendous learnings from Windows 10” to ensure it provides users with the best possible experience.
The rollout will be based on Microsoft’s models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, device age, and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.
Woodman said Microsoft expects all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.
Woodman highlighted several key features that will be available in the new OS:
- New design and sounds.
- New Start menu puts content at the centre of the desktop and shows recent files from the cloud and Microsoft 365.
- Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and Desktops provide more multitasking options.
- Chat from Microsoft Teams is integrated into the taskbar.
- Widgets, a new personalised feed powered by AI, promises a faster way to access the information you need.
- Enhanced gaming with DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage, and Auto HDR.
- Rebuilt Microsoft Store.
- Accessibility improvements built for and by people with disabilities.
- New opportunities for developers and creators with the Microsoft Store, and new developer tools.
- Optimisations for speed, efficiency, and better experiences with touch, digital pen, and voice input.
Notably, however, the list did not include the much-hyped integrated support for Android apps.
Woodman said this feature will only be in preview for Windows Insiders in the coming months.
Windows Update will notify users with eligible Windows 10 PCs when the Windows 11 update is available for their systems.
You can also check to see if Windows 11 is ready for your computer by going to Settings > Windows Update and selecting “Check for updates“.
Preview versions of the OS are also available to members of the Windows Insider programme in the Dev and Beta channels.
To join this programme and try Windows 11 out early, navigate to Settings > Windows Update and choose “Windows Insider Program” to opt-in. The update will then become available to you under the Windows Update tab.