Microsoft to launch Windows 11 on October 5, its first major operating system in 6 years
36 years ago, Microsoft released its first Windows desktop operating system called Windows 1.0 on November 20, 1985. Windows 1.0 was a type of software that runs as a graphical, on top of the existing 16-bit MS-DOS installation. Fast forward three decades later, Microsoft released Windows 10 on July 15, 2015.
Unlike the previous versions of Windows, Windows 10 is a major release of the Windows NT operating system and a successor to Windows 8.1, which was released nearly two years earlier. Windows 10 later became available to the public on July 29, 2015. Windows 10 later became the most popular Windows desktop operating system, accounting for over 78 percent of the market share as of June 2021, according to data from Statista.
Now after six years of effort, Microsoft announced Tuesday the release of the next version of its popular desktop operating system called Windows 11. Microsoft said it will start offering free upgrades to Windows 11 to eligible PCs on October 5.
In a blog post, General Manager for Windows marketing Aaron Woodman said Microsoft will use on-device data and other factors to determine which devices will get the offer to upgrade first just like it has for past updates.
“Today, we are thrilled to announce Windows 11 will start to become available on October 5, 2021. On this day, the free upgrade to Windows 11 will begin rolling out to eligible Windows 10 PCs and PCs that come pre-loaded with Windows 11 will start to become available for purchase. A new Windows experience, Windows 11 is designed to bring you closer to what you love,” Woodman wrote.
To date, Windows desktop operating remains a key piece of Microsoft’s business. In the second quarter alone, Windows generated over $6 billion in revenue for Microsoft, representing 14% of the software and hardware company’s total revenue.
For users running Windows 10 on PCs, the Windows Update feature will notify them when the upgrade is available. Windows users can also go to Settings > System > Windows Update to manually check if the Windows 11 upgrade is ready. Woodman pointed to a variety of Windows 10 PCs that people can buy now and upgrade to Windows 11 later, including Dell’s XPS 13, the HP Spectre x360, and Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro, as well as Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 7.
Below are the major highlights of Windows 11.
- 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.