Microsoft had on Tuesday, the 31st of August 2021 intimated the public its plans to roll out Windows 11 on the 5th of October 2021, in a free upgrade of its operating system available for hardware that works with Windows 11 pre-loaded and other eligible Window 10 personal computers.
The new software will let Android apps run on the Windows desktop.
Product manager Panos Panay promised smaller, faster security updates – a common complaint for Windows users – and said they would happen in the background.
Windows 11 will also let users configure multiple desktops for work, home, and gaming, like on a Mac.
One cosmetic change is putting the “Start” button at the bottom-centre of the screen rather than left-hand side.
Microsoft says there are currently about 1.3 billion devices running Windows 10.
An early preview version of the new system will be released for app developers next week.
Windows 11 will be available as a free update to existing Windows 10 users – although some devices will not have the right specifications. These include a minimum of 64 gigabytes of storage and 4 gigabytes of RAM.
“We expect all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022. If you have a Windows 10 PC that’s eligible for the upgrade, Windows Update will let you know when it’s available,” says Panos Panay.
Here are 11 highlights of this release
- The new design and sounds are modern, fresh, clean and beautiful, bringing you a sense of calm and ease.
- With Start, we’ve put you and your content at the center. Start utilizes the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show you your recent files no matter what device you were viewing them on.
- Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops provide an even more powerful way to multitask and optimize your screen real estate.
- Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated into the taskbar provides a faster way to connect to the people you care about.
- Widgets, a new personalized feed powered by AI, provides a faster way to access the information you care about, and with Microsoft Edge’s world class performance, speed and productivity features you can get more done on the web.
- Windows 11 delivers the best Windows ever for gaming and unlocks the full potential of your system’s hardware with technology like DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage and Auto HDR. With Xbox Game Pass for PC or Ultimate you get access to over 100 high-quality PC games to play on Windows 11 for one low monthly price. (Xbox Game Pass sold separately.)
- Windows 11 comes with a new Microsoft Store rebuilt with an all-new design making it easier to search and discover your favorite apps, games, shows, and movies in one trusted location. We look forward to continuing our journey to bring Android apps to Windows 11 and the Microsoft Store through our collaboration with Amazon and Intel; this will start with a preview for Windows Insiders over the coming months.
- Windows 11 is the most inclusively designed version of Windows with new accessibility improvements that were built for and by people with disabilities.
- Windows 11 unlocks new opportunities for developers and creators. We are opening the Store to allow more developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to bring their apps to the Store, improving native and web app development with new developer tools, and making it easier for you to refresh the look and feel across all our app designs and experiences.
- Windows 11 is optimized for speed, efficiency and improved experiences with touch, digital pen and voice input.
- Windows 11 is the operating system for hybrid work, delivering new experiences that work how you work, are secure by design, and easy and familiar for IT to deploy and manage. Businesses can also test Windows 11 in preview today in Azure Virtual Desktop, or at general availability by experiencing Windows 11 in the new Windows 365.