Windows 10 is now six years old, and the next major upgrade is finally coming. The new operating system from Microsoft is coming with better visuals and features and promises better performance for games, communication, web browsing and more.
As with the current OS, Windows 11 will be available for free for qualifying users. One requirement is having Windows 10 already installed and running on your computer. If you are running an older OS, you can still upgrade to Windows 10, so you can get Windows 11 for free when it launches. Tap or click here for instructions on upgrading to Windows 10 for free.
Microsoft has been vague about the release date, hinting towards the end of the year. That’s changed as the official release date has been revealed: October 5, 2021. This date comes with a caveat, which we’ll go into below. The tech giant also released more information about the OS itself.
Here are some highlights of what to expect with Windows 11:
- Flashy new look – The first thing you’ll notice about Windows 11 is the new look. The taskbar is front and center and you can access applications, widgets and actions directly from there such as search and Microsoft Teams.
- Start button moved to the center – A visual cue taken from smartphones. The Start menu works with Microsoft 365 and the cloud so you can view recent files from any platform, including Android and iOS. The apps you use most are automatically pinned to the Start menu.
- Easily find settings – Your Settings will be on the left side of the screen and stay there as you perform different actions.
- Welcome Android fans – Windows 11 will let you run Android apps from your PC. You can get them in the Microsoft Store and download them through the Amazon Appstore.
- Fun new widgets – Widgets let you take a quick look at information without having to keep opening apps and websites for updates. You can add or subtract widgets as you please.
- Optimal gaming – Windows is bringing DirectStorage from the Xbox to provide faster load times and greater detail in desktop games. Auto HDR and DirectX 12 Ultimate support will get you the most out of your games.
- Xbox Game Pass works with Windows 11 – This comes with access to more than 100 PC games, along with cross-play compatibility with other PCs or consoles.
- Updated store – A new Microsoft Store makes it easier to find and discover apps, games, shows and movies.
Your potential Windows 11 rig will have to have the following capabilities at the very least:
- 4 GB RAM
- 64 GB or larger available storage
- DirectX 12 compatible graphics card
- 1 GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- UEFI, Secure Boot capable system firmware
- Tap or click here for more information on Windows 11 compatibility.
If you’re running an old PC and want to upgrade to Windows 11, you may still be able to. Tap or click here for a loophole that may help.
Coming soon – for some
“…New eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first.” This is what Microsoft said in a recent blog post regarding the Windows 11 release date. Some users will get the new OS on Oct. 5, while others will have to wait as the system rolls out to all eligible devices into mid-2022.
If you’re using a Windows 10 PC, you’ll get a notification of when it’s eligible for an upgrade.
Here are some eligible devices that can upgrade to Windows after the rollout on Oct.5:
- Acer Swift 5 (SF514-55)
- Acer Swift X (SFX14-41G)
- Asus Zenbook Flip 13 OLED UX363
- Asus Zenbook 14 UX425
- Alienware x15 and Alienware x17
- Dell XPS 13
- HP Spectre x360 14
- HP ENVY x360 15
- 2-in-1 Lenovo Yoga 7 convertible series
- Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro series
- Samsung Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
Get inside Windows 11 now
The Windows Insider Program lets you try out Windows updates and features before being released to the general public. You can also give feedback and communicate with Windows engineers.
Click here to register for the Windows Insider Program. You must have Windows 10 installed and have a Microsoft account or a work account in the Azure Active Directory (AAD). You can leave the Windows Insider program at any time by going to insider.windows.com/en-us/leave-program.
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