Following a leaked version that hit the internet a couple of weeks ago and forced the cat out of the bag, Microsoft‘s latest version of its popular operating system has finally been made official.
(Update, October 5: Windows 11 is officially out now! Here’s how to download it for free.)
Windows 11 is here — and it’s a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10-based systems, similar to how Windows 7 users were able to download a copy of Windows 10 without costing a dime when it launched back in 2015. This is to be expected, considering Microsoft gets most of its software profits from businesses and not individuals.
Microsoft will release a preview build of Windows 11 beginning next week. A full release will follow this holiday season and into 2022. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of signing up for an early copy of the upcoming OS before it is broadly released for the general public.
To install Windows 11, your system must have a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 security chip and Secure Boot enabled in the BIOS, in addition to a dual-core 64-bit processor or SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Your PC also needs a graphics card or CPU compatible with DirectX 12. By contrast, Windows 10 needs 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage to run, and supports 32-bit processors as well as DirectX 9-compatible GPUs.
An easier way of finding out if your PC meets Windows 11’s minimum requirements is to run the free Microsoft PC Health Check app, which you can download here.
How to download a preview of Windows 11
Members of Microsoft’s Windows Insider program can get access to an early build of Windows 11, though we don’t recommend it for day-to-day computing. Still, if you have more than one Windows 10 PC at home, installing the public beta might be a good way to familiarize yourself with the new features coming in the full release.
Here’s how you can sign up to the program, if you haven’t already.
- Visit this link.
- Click or tap on the Register button.
- Sign in with your Microsoft account.
- Accept the terms of the Program Agreement and Privacy Statement, and then submit.
That’s it! Just wait for the update once it becomes available.
What to expect from Windows 11
Windows 11 introduction video
New Windows 11 features include a streamlined Start menu and Taskbar and plenty of visual upgrades to interface elements, resulting in a more modern look.
There’s also a new Widgets drawer, which will become the centerpiece of Microsoft’s widgets strategy. More importantly, Windows 11 will allow users to run Android apps from the Amazon Appstore natively on their PC.
Microsoft estimates there are about 1.5 billion Windows users across multiple versions worldwide, with one billion running Windows 10.
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