After several Insider Preview builds and updates, Microsoft has finally announced the initial release date for Windows 11. Microsoft’s upcoming OS will launch on October 5 and will see a staggered launch, meaning it won’t be here for everyone at once. Microsoft will slowly ease devices into the upgrade and the actual number of devices that will be ready for the upgrade on October 5 are quite limited.
Not only that, but there will be some missing features at launch as well. Most noticeably, Android apps support. Microsoft is working in tandem with Amazon and Intel to bring Android app compatibility over to Windows 11, and we’ve only seen teasers of this so far. The Android app functionality will likely make its way over to Insiders first in a preview build, and public rollout is expected next year.
October 5 is only for the elites!
Furthermore, that October 5 release date is just the start of the rollout and very few devices will actually see Windows 11 on that day. Microsoft is opting for a “phased and measured approach” with its new OS, which means that it will scale to devices over time as Microsoft irons out a few bugs in the process and makes quality of life improvements here and there to make sure Windows 11 is ready for more computers.
So, who’s getting the October 5 update?
In their blog post, Microsoft has mentioned a few laptops as part of the eligible devices list. These machines are the ones that will get the update on October 5 and everyone else is set to follow after. Some of them will ship with Windows 11 out of the box while some will get the free upgrade via Windows Update. Some of the names include Dell XPS 13, Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 4, and Alienware‘s X15 and X17 laptops. You can check out the full list of eligible devices in the blog post. Rollout is set to begin on October 5 on these devices, but don’t worry as wide-scale release is imminent.
The Wide-Scale Release
Microsoft has stated that Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users and after the eligible devices have been covered, in-market devices will be next. The rollout will be gradual with Microsoft taking things like reliability metrics, age of device, and hardware eligibility to phase out the upgrades. Microsoft says that they expect all PCs running Windows 10 to get the option to upgrade by mid-2022.
If you missed the news last week, Microsoft has released a new PC Health Check app to determine whether your PC is compatible with Windows 11 or not. Microsoft also retracted from its harsh stance against the hardware requirements by allowing users to manually upgrade to Windows 11 via ISO files on unsupported systems. If your computer cannot run Windows 11 or does not get the upgrade, and you chose to not install the OS through the ISO then Windows 10 is here till 2025. In that case, Microsoft recommends sticking with its current OS as it will keep it updated and fresh throughout October 14, 2025.
Windows 11 Highlights and Features
Lastly, it’s important to touch on some highlights of Windows 11, that’s what Microsoft does in their blogpost, too. As we all know by now, Windows 11 is a departure from the old, boxy and somewhat outdated look of past Windows iterations. Instead, Windows 11 is a bright, colorful, modern and sleek OS that builds upon the success of its predecessors by offering true generational upgrades. The design is now much more in line with Microsoft’s Fluent UI standards, and every corner of the OS has been rounded because, you know, rounded is better than squared. The icons are flatter, there are translucent backgrounds and everything just looks much more pleasant.
Of course, the upgrades are not in cosmetics only. Windows 11 is getting a new Taskbar with a lot of added functionality like Chat. There’s a new and improved Microsoft Store that’s actually decent this time around. Microsoft has also built new multi-tasking features like Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops. There are widgets! Many accessibility features have also been added and there’s better support for app development baked into the OS this time around, as well.
Popular Windows apps more will be getting the proper Windows 11 treatment by being doused in Fluent UI from head to toe. That means the design will be updated to be much more in-line with the rest of the OS and new functionality will also be added to improve the user experience. Many apps such as Paint, Outlook, PowerToys, even Calculator and Clock have already received their updates with many more to follow. On top of all that, Microsoft is confident that all these superficial and under-the-hood changes won’t affect overall performance.