What you need to know about Windows 11

Tech giant Microsoft has officially announced Windows 11, confirming speculation among fans when the upcoming operating system was teased in the weeks leading up to its big launch event on June 24, 2021.

Microsoft has since released more information on the latest version of Windows. Here’s everything you need to know.

Windows 11 has all the power and security of its predecessor Windows 10, which was released six years ago in July 2015. On top of this, it comes with new tools, sounds, and apps.

Among the features introduced in Windows 11 include a rejuvenated Start menu and taskbar, Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, Desktops, Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated into the taskbar, an all-new Microsoft Store, and Android app compatibility. (Read: Windows 11 will run Android apps)

PCs with Windows 11 pre-installed will be available later this year. Costs will vary depending on manufacturers that will offer a variety of devices running the new operating system at different price points.

Meanwhile, most Windows 10 PCs currently being sold will be able to upgrade to Windows 11 if they meet the minimum hardware specifications, with specific hardware required for some features.

The minimum system requirements are as follows:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
  • System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
  • Graphics card: DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
  • Display: >9″ with HD Resolution (720p)
  • Internet connection: Microsoft account and internet connectivity required for setup for Windows 11 Home

Although the upgrade rollout plan has yet to be finalized, it is scheduled to begin in late 2021 and continue into 2022. The specific timing of the said rollout will vary by device.

Upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 is free. The user, however, must be running the most current version of Windows 10. Simply check to see if you have the latest updates for Windows 10 in Settings/Windows Update.

While the free upgrade offer does not have a specific end date for eligible systems, Microsoft reserves the right to eventually end support for the free offer. The said end date will be no sooner than one year from general availability.

All files and data will transfer by default when a user upgrades to Windows 11. However, Microsoft recommends backing up files before installation.

To manage expectations, downloading and installing Windows 11 will most likely take longer than a standard Windows 10 feature update. Users can still operate their PC while downloading Windows 11 and then schedule the installment at a later time when they aren’t using their PC.

After installing the Windows 11 update, users have a 10-day period where they can move back to Windows 10. When this period lapses, users who wish to return to Windows 10 must back up their data and do a “clean install” to revert to the previous operating system.

For users who will opt to stay on Windows 10, Microsoft is supporting the operating system through October 14, 2025.

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