The Windows 11 release date is officially set for October 5
Today, Microsoft is announcing that the official Windows 11 release date is October 5. Of course, as Microsoft has said this whole time, it’s not coming to everyone on day one. It’s going to be a staged rollout.
First of all, new hardware with Windows 11 is going to start being released in October. You’ll also see newer eligible devices receive the update in the very beginning. As Microsoft tests more devices, it will expand the rollout, and it’s expected to be offered to everyone by mid-2022.
You’ll also need to make sure that you have a compatible CPU. In fact, a lot of system requirements have changed this time around, but the requirement of an Intel eighth-gen or newer, AMD Zen 2 or newer, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 or newer processor is the biggest one. TPM 2.0 is also a requirement, but that’s been a requirement on new PCs since 2016, long before any of the supported processors shipped.
If you don’t meet these requirements, you can always install via an ISO image, but then you might not get updates. The alternative is to stay on Windows 10, and even if you do that, you’ll still be supported until October 14, 2025.
Obviously, there are a whole bunch of new features that are coming in Windows 11, the most obvious being an all-new design. You’re going to see a brand-new Start Menu and a centered taskbar. There are rounded corners throughout the OS, and with that new subtle look, there are more subtle system sounds, such as when you change the volume. It also comes with new gaming features with features like DirectStorage and Auto HDR, features that were previously exclusive to the latest generation of Xbox consoles.
There’s even more in terms of design though. You can now have different wallpapers in virtual desktops. You’ll also find an all-new Widgets section, which is mostly News and Interests under a new banner and a new design. Snap Layouts lets you hover your mouse over the maximize button to snap in different parts of the display, and then there are Snap Groups to call up groups of windows. Windows 11 is also optimized for touch, letting you use gestures on the screen that you’re already used to from the touchpad.
Teams Chat is new too. You’ll find the icon in the taskbar, and you can use it to chat with friends, even if they’re not using Teams. One feature that was promised that won’t arrive in time is Android app support. That’s coming later this year.
The Windows 11 release date is October 5. As mentioned, there’s going to be new hardware as well, and stuff being sold now is already being billed as ready for Windows 11. Microsoft noted in its blog post that this is a great time to buy a new PC, and that’s the whole idea behind the new requirements, although the company also outlined things like improved performance and fewer crashes.
While it’s going to be a slow, staged rollout, you’ll still be able to use tools like the Media Creation Tool to install Windows 11 on your machine early.