Recently Microsoft announced it will start offering free upgrades to Windows 11, the next version of its desktop operating system, to eligible PCs on Oct. 5, 2021.
In its fiscal fourth quarter, Windows delivered $6.6 billion in revenue, representing 14% of the software and hardware company’s total sales. A successful release of Windows 11 could further secure the franchise’s future, which can also benefit other parts of Microsoft’s business, such as Azure and Office.
Here are 11 highlights of this release
- The new sounds and design are fresh, modern, clean and beautiful, bringing you a sense of calm and ease.
- 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 a powerful way to multitask and optimize your screen real estate.
- Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated into the taskbar provides a faster way to connect with your co-workers and friends.
- Widgets, a new personalized feed powered by AI, provides a faster way to access the information you care about.
- 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 favourite apps, games, shows, and movies in one trusted location.
- Windows 11has new accessibility improvements that are 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.
- 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.
Rolling out the free upgrade to Windows 11 in a phased and measured approach
The free upgrade to Windows 11 starts on October 5 and will be phased and measured with a focus on quality. 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. It is expected to be fully rolled out 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. You can also check to see if Windows 11 is ready for your device by going to Settings > Windows Update and select Check for updates*.
For customers who are using a PC that won’t upgrade, and who aren’t ready to transition to a new device, Windows 10 is the right choice. They will support Windows 10 through October 14, 2025. Whatever you decide, Windows is committed to supporting you and offering choice in your computing journey.
Sources: Windows 11 available Oct.5, 2021 (https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2021/08/31/windows-11-available-on-october-5/)