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Windows 11 launch: When to expect the next version of Windows?

Windows 11 Icon Taskbar2 Razerbook
Windows 11 Icon Taskbar2 Razerbook (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft has just announced Windows 11 as the next successor to Windows 10. But, when can you get it and do you have to upgrade?

There are likely a few answers. Here is why.

Public testing

Windows 11 (beta): Late June, 2021

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft has announced that starting the week of June 28 it begin to share an early build of Windows 11 to the Windows Insider Program.

As expected, the release goes first to the Windows Insider Dev Channel. Later, it will migrate to Beta and then finally Release Preview towards the fall.

There will be exceptions to which PCs can join the Windows 11 Insider Dev Channel, as Microsoft notes:

All Windows Insiders who have already been installing builds from the Dev Channel on their PCs up through June 24, 2021 will be allowed to continue installing Windows 11 Insider Preview builds even if their PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements. Insiders with PCs already in the Dev Channel have been installing and giving feedback on builds with Windows 11 features since last year.

Microsoft also comments about the Beta channel:

In preparation for releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview builds to the Beta Channel later this summer, we are moving PCs that do not meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11 in the Beta Channel to the Release Preview Channel. Some of these PCs may be able to move back to the Beta Channel, but at their own risk. See the above chart for details.

In other words, there are a lot of cavets, so make sure to read Microsoft's full post detailing the how the Insider program will work.

For everyone else

Windows 11 (General Release): October 6, 2021?

The Windows 11 update is a free upgrade for all Windows 10 users and is optional.

No final date has been given for the release of Windows 11, but October is a good rule of thumb (and it was even spotted in the Windows 11 presentation). Indeed, October 6th (Wednesday) could be the actual official day, but we'll have to wait and see.

Windows 11 will be available through a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs beginning this holiday. To check if your current Windows 10 PC is eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 11, visit Windows.com to download the PC Health Check app (opens in new tab).

More on Windows 11

Windows 11 Screenshot

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Windows 11 is going to be one of the biggest releases for Windows in over a decade. While the recent leak gives us a good look at what to expect, there are still many questions and unknown details. These will be revealed in the coming weeks and months as Microsoft officially discloses the OS, which we'll be covering in great detail.

For now, stick to our main Windows 11: Release date, price, and everything you need to know page to keep up with the latest news and updates.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

16 Comments
  • When? its in a cheap android tablet on a desk near you
  • Android can't run Win32 apps, just phone apps. Windows is designed for desktop and laptop computers running x86 or ARM processors whereas Android is just for tablets or phones. I hope that helps you understand the difference👍
  • Can android run a calculator even though its not a Casio? Then it can run a 32bit app.
  • Hi, you seem to be confusing my statement. Win32 apps, also known as the Windows API, is a set of APIs used for developing 32-bit applications. It includes such things as graphics, security, system services, and the Windows User Interface. The statement was not suggesting that Android cannot run 32-bit apps, but that it cannot run Win32 apps, ergo cannot run Windows apps. Therefore, an Android tablet is nothing like a Windows PC. Thank you.
  • You have the patience of a saint.
  • That was a way of making you understand that Android, Unix, OS/2, IOS, MAC OS or whatever is on offer doesn't have to run a 32bit/128bit or later app in a way that Microsoft package it. No does it matter whether it runs it on a Pentium or a Kurin or a Quantum Was hoping you see (a bit) the light side of it. The only thing unique here is a monopoly and a lot of aging patents
  • Linux fan, am I right?
  • I'm a fan of Linux but even I know the difference between 32-bit and Win32 🤣
  • True, and it looks like Linux and Chrome OS same time, im so excited for it it looks SOOO AMAZING AND GREAT I FKNG LOVE MICROSOFT SO MUCH!!! :) :) NO MORE SLOW WINDOWS 10 AND ERRORS!! :) I TOLD THEM ON FEEDBACK HUB TO MAKE IT LOOK THIS WAY BECAUSE! :)
  • THATS AMAZING WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO YHHH WINDOWS WINDOWS WINDOWS WINDOWS WINDOWS GONNA BE RELEASED ON OCTOBER 2021 AYI AYI AYAAAAAA MY BRITHDAY ON 11 OCTOBER! LIBRA! YHH! :) AND WHY PICTURES ARE SMALL AND UNCLEAR?!
  • Citing precedent, Microsoft typically is not a fan of forcing people onto new versions of its operating system, instead preferring to give users more freedom and space. What a load of rubbish, this is the same Microsoft that pushed Windows 10 onto people that wanted to stay with Windows 7 with confusing dialogue boxes and constant nags.
  • Also the same Microsoft who’s over excitedness to push upgrades have irreversibly destroyed user data because of poor update procedures. They seriously need to stop with the forced updates.
  • UX changes in short:
    Microsoft made Windows 10 to remove the colourful icons of previous editions just to introduce them back in Windows 11.
    They also removed all the touch friendly experience from Windows 8 and 8.1 only to be added back in Windows 11.
    Also, the Vista widgets are back. May be if they had the insider program during Windows XP days, these features would have stayed the entire time.
  • You've forgotten to add 'more' bugs. Windows 10 is still buggy.
  • Gonna make a positive comment here because it seems it's fertile ground for tha haters: this looks exciting and invigorating the platform. Much more than just looking better.
  • It is such a relief that this time around they decided not to be google's concubine and are not bundeling google services. If they remove google from their android phone and replace with Microsoft, I might even consider buying it, else there is no purpose, if it is just for the hardware and Chinese options are better and a lot cheaper.