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Windows 11 general availability and free update set to start on October 5

Windows 11 is hitting general availability on October 5, 2021. After months of beta testing with Windows Insiders, this is the date that the free upgrade to Windows 11 will begin rolling out to eligible PCs, and the same day that Windows 11 will start coming preloaded to new PCs from Dell, Lenovo, and other laptop makers.

Come October 5, and just like with previous Windows 10 updates, Microsoft will be taking a phased and measured approach with rolling out Windows 11. This means you’ll see a focus on a quality experience, where you won’t experience bugs and other issues when it is your time to upgrade and download Windows 11. New devices should be seeing the free upgrade first, with a rollout over time to other devices based on Microsoft’s own metrics.

A tablet running Windows 11
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In those metrics and the free upgrade rollout, Microsoft is considering factors like hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, and age of the device. The timing of seeing the Windows 11 free upgrade will vary by device, but Microsoft mentioned that all devices should be seeing the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.

If you’re eligible for the upgrade, Windows update will notify you that it’s available. Just check for updates by going to Settings > Windows Update and then click Check for updates. In the future, you also can use the Windows 11 PC Health Check tool to see your PCs eligibility, as Microsoft says it is planning to relaunch this soon.

Many of the features shipping on October 5 in Windows 11 have been beta-tested by Microsoft’s Windows Insiders over the past few months with “unprecedented” levels of feedback and engagement. As we experienced in our initial hands-on, that includes a modern redesign with rounded corners, a new Start Menu, new multitasking features, and a Microsoft Teams integration via a new chat app. Other features include Widgets, new gaming features, and a redesigned Microsoft Store.

Teams Integration In Windows 11.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Microsoft hasn’t mentioned much if the much anticipated Android apps integration via the Amazon App Store will ship with the generally available version of Windows 11. We reached out to Microsoft for some more clarification, but the company mentioned in its blog post that it is continuing on the “journey of bringing Android apps to Windows 11 through collaboration with Amazon and Intel, with a preview for Windows Insiders over the coming months.”

If you find yourself unable to run or upgrade Windows 11 on your PC due to Microsoft’s minimum system requirements, then Microsoft believes that Windows 10 is “the right choice.” The operating system will be supported through October 14, 2025. Microsoft also suggests trying out new PCs that come with Windows 11 preinstalled. From the Acer Swift 5 to the Alienware x15 and Alienware x17, and even the XPS 13, there are a lot of excellent modern devices that can run Windows 11.

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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