Windows 11 has a release date, and it’s a fair bit sooner than many of us anticipated. Microsoft today announced that its new OS would begin to roll out on October 5 — just a few weeks away.
On that date, an update for the new OS will begin to roll out to users on fully compatible devices, but it’s also when the first new devices preloaded with Windows 11 will become available in stores.
As with its larger Windows 10 updates, Microsoft is using a phased, very gradual update rollout, which means casual users may have to wait until mid-2022 to get the update. In Microsoft’s own words:
The free upgrade to Windows 11 starts on October 5 and will be phased and measured with a focus on quality. Following the tremendous learnings from Windows 10, we want to make sure we’re providing you with the best possible experience. That means new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. The upgrade will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience. We expect all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.
That said, I’d imagine users who are keen to upgrade to Windows 11 immediately can probably do so by joining the Windows Insider Program, or manually installing the ISO (the latter will be the only way to install the OS if you’re running on officially unsupported hardware). We’ve reached out to Microsoft for clarification on this front.
It seems there will be plenty of new hardware ready to go with Windows 11 pre-installed as well. The company’s announcement mentions that laptops from Acer, Asus, Alienware, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Microsoft’s own Surface family will be available with Windows 11 starting October 5.
Microsoft had originally claimed Windows 11 would be ready to download for this ‘holiday season,’ which led many to expect a November or December release, but I suppose they must have been talking about Halloween instead.
Considering Windows 11 was announced in late June and that it’s only been in public beta testing for a couple of months, I’m hoping Microsoft has worked out most of the kinks. Then again, I suppose that’s why the company is performing a super slow rollout.
It’s also worth noting that one of Windows 11’s biggest new features, compatibility with Android apps will likely not be available for public release immediately at launch. Microsoft says a preview for the feature will arrive for Windows Insiders “over the coming months.” Lastly, the company is releasing an updated PC Health Check app soon with more information on upgrade eligibility, and more importantly, why your computer might not be supported.
You can read more about the launch in Microsoft’s blog post here.