Microsoft has officially announced Windows 11, here’s everything we know about its next OS.
- Release date: October 2021
- Price: Free upgrade for existing Windows 10 users
- Interface changes: New, rounded design
- Redesigned Microsoft store and support for Android Apps
- Better Xbox app integration
- AutoHDR makes old games look more vibrant
- DirectStorage is exclusive to Windows 11
Microsoft has officially announced Windows 11 is on the way and will be with us before the end of the year. The “What’s next for Windows” event on June 24 had been preceded by an early build of Windows 11 leaking just the week before, so it didn’t come as too much of a surprise. Indeed Windows Insider beta testers already have access to an early build, and if you want to try it out yourself, you can sign up for the Windows Insider build.
Prior to this official announcement, it wasn’t clear what the future of the Windows OS would be. The general expectation was that the changes to the Windows UI, codenamed Sun Valley, would simply roll at as yet another Windows 10 update. And in many respects, that’s what Windows 11 is, another update to Windows 10, albeit one that Microsoft’s marketing department can get behind.
There are a number of changes in store for Windows 11 though, including a new UI, a major update to the Microsoft Store (that will also include Android apps), better Xbox app integration, as well as introducing AutoHDR and DirectStorage support. Microsoft is keen to focus on PC gamers this time around too, stating, “if you’re a gamer, Windows 11 was made for you.”
Maybe it is about time we had a new version of Windows after all.
When will Windows 11 be released?
Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 is going to be available for new machines by the holidays, with updates to existing Windows 10 users coming at the start of 2022. The Windows Insider build of Windows 11 is already available for beta testing on the Dev Channel. A potential October 2021 release date has been teased by an Intel GPU driver doc, however, which leads credence to that timeframe.
The Intel GPU doc lists supported Windows operating systems for a planned GPU driver release, and lists 64-bit Windows 10 updates all the way back to 2018, but finishes with ‘Microsoft Windows 11-64 – October 2021 Update (21H2).’ As well as a potential release date it also almost confirms Windows 11 as the original Windows 10 21H2 update.
The closest thing to an official statement on the release date, however, is from a blog post by Panos Panay, the Chief Product Officer of Windows, which states, “Windows 11 will be available through a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs beginning this holiday.”
We could also see a chunky update for Windows 10 drop around the same time as well, although Microsoft will probably focus on its new OS for the main part. Windows 10 will still be getting updates until 2025, so there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.
This release date for Windows 11 is for new machines, with the update for existing Windows 10 users coming at the beginning of 2022. This should mean that any bugs and problems will be (mostly) sorted by the time you can upgrade. If you can upgrade, assuming you have a TPM 2.0 compatible machine.