Microsoft makes Windows 11 official, and it's coming this fall
A new name, new features, and new UI, for free!
What you need to know
- Microsoft has announced Windows 11, officially!
- It has a new UI, new features, and new sounds.
- It's coming this fall as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users.
Microsoft has officially announced that there's a new version of Windows in town, and it's called Windows 11. The company just unveiled the name and interface at its "What's next for Windows" event, along with when we can expect to get our hands on the new OS.
So far, Windows 11 includes a brand new user interface with a centered Start menu and Taskbar. It removes live tiles and replaces them with a grid of icons that can be rearranged and pinned to the new Start. There's also a new Widgets feature that houses things like your calendar, weather, sports leaderboard, and latest news. There's also an improved System Tray with a new split Notifications and Quick Actions UI.
Windows 11 also features improvements to the overall sound and design experiences of Windows, making things look and feel more fluid when in use. There are improvements to Windows Snap Assist, with new snapping layouts to choose from, and a new menu that appears when hovering over app windows to select where you want an app to be snapped to.
Tablets are also in for a treat with Windows 11, as Microsoft has made some changes to improve the overall Windows experience when using touch. To begin, hit boxes around app windows are larger, so resizing them is easier now. There are also new gestures for minimizing and maximizing apps, and the ability to snap apps top and bottom when in portrait mode. Plus, there's also a new touch keyboard that's much better than the old Windows 10 one.
Many of the in-box apps are also getting new modern designs and features too. File Explorer, Microsoft Store, and more are being redesigned for Windows 11. There's also a new "Chat" app that's powered by Microsoft Teams and pinned to the Taskbar by default. This replaces the Skype app, which is no longer preinstalled.
Microsoft also says that Windows 11 will support Android apps as part of its new Microsoft Store app. A pretty big deal!
Free upgrade starting this fall
Microsoft says that Windows 11 will begin shipping to customers this fall, and Windows Insiders can begin testing a preview of the release next week. Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, as long as your existing PC is compatible with Windows 11's new system requirements.
Windows 11's minimum system requirements are as follows:
- A modern 64-bit processor
- 1Ghz clock speed
- 2 cores
- 64GB drive
- 4GB RAM
- UEFI, Secure Book capable & TPM 2.0
- 9-inch display with 1366x768 resolution
- DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
These minimum specification requirements mean that Windows 11 is the first version of Windows to be made available on 64-bit machines only. The 32-bit version of Windows is no longer offered. 32-bit apps are still supported on Windows 11, however, so there won't be any app compatibility issues.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Windows 11 coverage as it happens, and let us know in the comments what you think of the new Windows 11.
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Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.