Microsoft announced that the availability of Windows 11 will start on October 5, 2021. Upgrading to Windows 11 is free for eligible Windows 10 PCs. PCs that come pre-loaded with the new OS will also become available for purchase at this time.
According to Microsoft, the free upgrade will be phased and measured to focus on quality. This means new eligible devices will get the upgrade first. Then, it will roll out over time to in-market devices, based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of the device, and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.
The company also expects all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade by mid-2022. Users can check if the update is available by going to Settings> Windows Update and click Check for updates.
Windows 11 will bring numerous changes, including a redesigned UI and Start menu, new features like Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops, AI-powered personalized widgets, a new Microsoft Store, and a more optimized experience.
Windows 11 is also bringing Android apps to PCs through their collaboration with Amazon and Intel. A preview of this feature is coming to Windows Insiders over the coming months.
Basic system requirements needed for installing Windows 11 on a PC include the following:
- 64-bit 1GHz or faster with 2 or more cores processor
- 4GB or more RAM
- 64GB or larger storage
- UEFI, secure boot capable system firmware
- TPM version 2.0 support
- DirectX 12 compatible graphics card or later with WDMM 2.0 driver
- HD (720p) display
For those running Windows 10, you can also use the PC Health Check app to assess compatibility.