What you need to know
- A build of Microsoft's next-gen Windows OS has leaked in public forums.
- Windows Central can confirm that this is Windows 11, including the new branding.
- The OS features a new UX that recalls the layout and design of Windows 10X – an OS that Microsoft has since abandoned but folded into Windows desktop.
- Windows 11 is to be revealed in its entirety on June 24th at 11 AM ET by Microsoft.
A build of Microsoft's upcoming next version of Windows, now confirmed to be Windows 11, has leaked onto the web just days before the company is expected to unveil the OS at a dedicated event. The leak has confirmed that the "Windows 11" branding is accurate and has revealed Microsoft's brand new desktop UI along with other changes and enhancements to the OS.
I may be listening too much into things, but does the new Windows 11 start up noise sound a little like a modern take on the Windows 95 start up noise? pic.twitter.com/WDnhHeT7iqI may be listening too much into things, but does the new Windows 11 start up noise sound a little like a modern take on the Windows 95 start up noise? pic.twitter.com/WDnhHeT7iq— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) June 15, 2021June 15, 2021
The build in question is 21996 from the co_release branch and is a near-final build of the OS. Additionally, Windows Central can confirm that the release is legitimate. The OS features a Windows 10X-style centered UI with a new Start menu design and animated Start button.
It also featured rounded app windows, a modern design for context menus, new sounds, and a new setup experience. The build also includes new default wallpapers, and a new "widgets" panel for the calendar, news, weather, and more.
Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows 11 on June 24th at 11 AM ET. The event is going to be streamed on the web and is open to all to watch.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CPO Panos Panay have both referred to the next version of Windows as the "next generation" of the platform, with Nadella calling it the "most significant update to Windows of the past decade," suggesting that significant changes are on the cards for Windows.
Windows 11 should be a routine update due later in October this year as a free upgrade to all current Windows 10 devices. However, users are likely to have an option to put off the update until a later time. In addition, a secondary branch of Windows 10, possible for enterprise use, is anticipated to coexist for a while to let companies adapt to the new UX at their own time.
Microsoft and its OEM PC partners are apt to launch new hardware later this fall with the latest Windows 11 branding and hardware that embraces the new design and features.
You can read more in "Windows 11 startup sound, UI, wallpapers, and more emerge following leaked build."
We'll be bringing you a complete hands-on video walkthrough as soon as we can.
Thanks for the tip, @WildDreamer95
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.