Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 at an event streamed from its headquarters this week. The all-new desktop operating system boasts an almost unrecognisable Start Menu, performance boost for gamers and access to the Xbox library via Game Pass, interactive widgets, and a dizzying number of new layouts to juggle multiple applications on-screen. There’s also new themes and deep integration with Microsoft Teams.
All in all, it’s a hefty upgrade. And best of all, Microsoft has confirmed that it will be completely free for anyone who is running Windows 10 at the moment. And of course, if you still have Windows 7 or Windows 8 on your machine, there’s still time to upgrade to Windows 10 for free (and therefore get the bump to Windows 11).
But when will users get the chance to see this redesigned and feature-packed new version of Windows, which Microsoft called “the foundation” of the next decade of the operating system used by more than 1.3 billion people?
When will Windows 11 release in the UK?
Well, that depends. Microsoft didn’t reveal an exact release date during its live-streamed keynote, but in the wake of the announcement more details have been revealed. If you’re in the market for a new laptop or desktop computer, chances are, you’ll get Windows 11 before everyone else.
Microsoft says that Windows 11 will launch “later this year”, however, this seems to refer to new laptops, two-in-one hybrid devices, tablets, and desktop PCs with the new operating system preinstalled, rather than upgrades for existing devices running Windows 10. Microsoft usually refreshes its own devices around October or November, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a new batch of Surface-branded laptops and desktop PCs to showcase the operating system.
When it comes to the free upgrades for existing users, Windows 11 might take a little longer to arrive.
Microsoft has confirmed that its Windows 11 upgrade, which will be pushed out via Windows Update just like any other Windows 10 monthly or quarterly update, will be pushed out in stages worldwide. This staggered approach, which is not unusual for Microsoft when it comes to an upgrade of this scale, means some Windows 10 users won’t be able to upgrade until next year.
Explaining more, Microsoft said: “The upgrade rollout plan is still being finalised, but for most devices already in use today, we expect it to be ready sometime in early 2022. Not all Windows 10 PCs that are eligible to upgrade to Windows 11 will be offered to upgrade at the same time.”
Along with that slow rollout the Redmond-based firm has also said that there will be certain system requirements. If your existing Windows 10 PC is running the most current version of Windows 10 and meets the minimum hardware specifications it will be able to upgrade to Windows 11.
To be eligible to upgrade to Windows 11, you’ll need to meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11. Microsoft has confirmed you’ll need at least a 64-bit CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Windows 11 will be delivered using the existing Windows Update app – as if it was a quarterly update to Windows 10.
Speaking about the Windows 10 upgrade, Chief Product Officer Panos Panay said: “Windows has always existed to be a stage for the world’s innovation. It’s been the backbone of global businesses and where scrappy startups became household names. The web was born and grew up on Windows.
“What was so powerful was the shift in the PC we saw and felt – from something practical and functional to something personal and emotional. This is what inspired us as we were building the next generation of Windows. To build you a place that feels familiar, where you can create, learn, play and most importantly, connect in all new ways. Today, I am humbled and excited to introduce you to Windows 11, the Windows that brings you closer to what you love.”