Microsoft announces Windows 11 general availability as global rollout begins

Windows 11 Start Hero Surface Book
Windows 11 Start Hero Surface Book (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The global rollout of the Windows 11 update has begun.
  • It will be offered in waves on Windows 10 PCs that are eligible starting tomorrow.
  • Our review for Windows 11 is now live.

Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 is now generally available, and is beginning its global rollout on eligible Windows 10 PCs today, the first of which should see the update ready to install from tomorrow. Windows 11 was unveiled to the world back in June, and has endured a rather short testing period of just a few months before shipping to the world as a "finished" OS. The update is rolling out in waves, so only a small amount of users will see it in Windows Update right away.

The Windows 11 update will continue rolling out in waves over the holilday and into 2022. Microsoft says it expects to have offered Windows 11 to all eligible Windows 10 PCs by mid-2022, and it will not be forced upon Windows 10 users at any point. Windows 11 is an optional release, and users are free to remain on Windows 10 if they wish. Windows 10 will be getting its own 21H2 release later this year.

As is always the case, Microsoft is also making available offline installation media, as well as the Upgrade Tool that will allow you to install Windows 11 today if you don't want to wait for it to be offered via Windows Update. The final build of Windows 11 appears to be 22000.194, though that will continue to increase as time passes, as Microsoft continues servicing Windows 11 with bug fixes and security updates.

Windows 11 Hero Surfaces

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

If you're unsure if your PC is eligible for Windows 11, Microsoft has a handy PC Health Check app that will tell you if you are or aren't, and give a detailed breakdown as to what blockers you may have, and if they can be resolved. Additionally, you can also attempt to bypass the checks by installing Windows 11 clean on an unsupported device, though your mileage may vary as to whether or not it works. Microsoft guarentees no updates on PCs that are "unsupported" on Windows 11.

Windows 11 will also be available to buy pre-loaded on new PCs starting tomorrow, October 5. Devices like the Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro 8 will be some of the first to ship with Windows 11 out of box, with more PC makers expected to follow.

Microsoft is already hard at work on the next release of Windows 11, known as version 22H2 that will continue Microsoft's vision of simplifying and modernizing the Windows UX where possible. We expect the next release to add a more consistent and complete dark mode, a continue effort in updating legacy interfaces with modern designs, and Android app support, among many other things.

We've published our own in-depth review of Windows 11 now that the upgrade is beginning to roll out. Make sure you give it a read if you're interested in upgrading.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

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 and Threads