Windows 11 is just around the corner. Microsoft announced ‘the next generation of Windows’ at a virtual event on 24 June, and confirmed that the new OS would launch later this year.
We now know that will be 5 October, after an official blog post from Aaron Woodman, Windows Marketing’s General Manager.
An early build is now available to members of the Windows Insider Program, and anyone is free to download it. However, not all the new features advertised are available, and it’s likely to be unstable.
Understandably, many people are waiting for the final version to arrive before updating their PCs. But how long might you have to wait? Here’s what we know so far.
When is Windows 11 coming to my PC?
Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for compatible Windows 10 devices. Rollout will begin following the 5 October release date, but most people will be waiting until 2022 to update their laptop or PC.
Windows 11 is due out later in 2021 and will be delivered over several months. The rollout of the upgrade to Windows 10 devices already in use today will begin in 2022 through the first half of that year.
— Windows (@Windows)
June 25, 2021
This indicates Microsoft will throttle up availability in order to manage demand, as it does with Windows 10 feature updates. Depending on the age of your hardware, you could be waiting until June 2022 before you can download it.
Which devices will get Windows 11?
Over the course of the next few years, Windows 11 is expected to run on hundreds of millions of PCs. Microsoft will hope to get close to the 1.3bn Windows 10 devices, but the updated hardware requirements make that unlikely anytime soon.
Learn more in our separate article: Will my PC run Windows 11?
Aside from downloading an early build, your quickest route to Windows 11 will therefore be to buy a device with the software pre-installed.
Microsoft’s Surface range will likely be first in line – especially as the company is holding a hardware event on 22 September. The Surface Pro 8 is the most likely candidate, but look out for the Surface Go 3 and Surface Book 4 too. Don’t rule out a third-gen Surface Pro X, either.
We haven’t heard many rumours about a new Surface Studio, but surely Microsoft will update its all-in-one PC soon. Windows 11’s expanded hardware requirements mean 2018’s Surface Studio 2 (from £3,549/US$3,499.99) will now be eligible for a free upgrade to the new OS, but it’s starting to look dated in 2021.
Once it’s officially released, expect plenty more OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to launch Windows 11-powered PCs. Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung all featured in the Windows 11 trailer, so look out for at least some third-party hardware before 2021 is out. Eventually, all Windows 10 PC makers will likely transition to Windows 11.
Will Windows 10 continue to be updated?
Yes. On the official Lifecycle page, Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 Home and Pro will continue to be supported until 14 October 2025 – that’s over a decade after both first launched.
This includes a 21H2 feature update, although there will only be a handful of minor new features. What’s more, this could be the last major update Windows 10 will get.
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