Microsoft announced in June that it would roll out Windows 11 around the holidays in 2021. There was no specific holiday mentioned. It is possible the company was aiming for World Teachers’ Day, a belated Sukkot, or a particularly early Halloween. In an announcement this morning, the company confirmed the operating system will arrive on October 5 after strongly hinting at a release in late October (with some pointing to the 20th).
It’s clearly earlier than Microsoft’s release window. A free upgrade will be available for users running Windows 10 with an eligible PC. This is the first major update since 2015. Also on October 5, the first systems featuring Windows 11 preloaded will be available. After the first preview build was released through the Windows Insider Dev Channel, Frederick wrote about it. He remarked, “This is more than just another biannual Windows 10 update with a few minor tweaks.”
A blog post from the company outlines the major changes in the October update in 11 points. The first issue has been around since that earliest preview build. A cleaner design is now available throughout the operating system. Multitasking has been improved with Snap Layouts, Groups and Desktops. The OS now closely integrates the company’s online services. A recent view feature is built into the Start menu of Microsoft 365, for cross-platform integration. The Teams taskbar has also been added (Microsoft really wants you to use Teams). There are also Widgets to help you stay up to date with the sports, news, and weather.
The accessibility of the site has been improved. According to a post created by Microsoft in July, “Accessible technology is fundamental to enabling opportunities in every part of society.”. A better Windows experience can help reduce the “disability divide” – by providing more opportunities for education and employment for people with disabilities around the globe. Microsoft also plans to upgrade its Store, and the company will give independent developers more access to its operating system to develop new tools. Windows 8 offers new features focused on gaming on the desktop, like DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage, and Auto HDR.
As well as, which machines qualify as supported, there is some confusion as to what this all means for unsupported machines. According to earlier this week’s reports, without Microsoft’s permission, those who manually install the new operating system won’t receive Windows Update. This is undoubtedly a huge disappointment since this utility provides security updates.
This morning, Microsoft announced that it will begin phasing in and measuring its free Windows 11 upgrade beginning on October 5. “Since Windows 10 provided us with tremendous learnings, it is our goal to make sure our customers get the most out of their Windows experience. Thus, new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. Various intelligence models will determine over time if hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, and age of the devices qualify for the upgrade.
By mid-2022, all qualified machines should be offered the upgrade. Microsoft says it will continue to support Windows 10 systems that aren’t upgraded until October 14, 2025.
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