The date that millions of Microsoft fans have been waiting for is finally here with the all-new Windows 11 operating system launching today October 5. This blockbuster update from the US technology firm features a whole swathe of changes including a refreshed look, upgrades to the Start Menu, better compatibility with Teams plus info-packed and fully interactive widgets. The Microsoft Store – which offers access to games, applications and more – has also been completely redesigned from the ground up making it easier to find the things you want and something called Snap Layouts provide an even more powerful way to multitask and optimise your screen real estate.
The release date means that most new PCs being sold in stores will now come pre-loaded with Windows 11 which is great news if you are thinking that it’s time to buy a new laptop.
Sadly, if you’re perfectly happy with your current hardware you might need to be very, very patient. Microsoft has confirmed that the rollout of Windows 11 to current Windows 10 users will be staged over a period of months meaning not everyone will get it on launch day.
In fact, some might not see the changes until next year! Yes, you did read that correctly. This longer release time has been created in a bid to focus on quality with Microsoft saying that, following the tremendous learnings from Windows 10, they wanted to make sure they are providing users with the best possible experience.
Explaining more, Microsoft said on its Windows 11 blog: “If your existing Windows 10 PC is running the most current version of Windows 10 and meets the minimum hardware specifications it will be able to upgrade to Windows 11.
“The upgrade will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience. We expect all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.”
If you have a Windows 10 PC that’s eligible for the upgrade, Windows Update will let you know when it’s available you can also check manually by going to Settings > Windows Update and select Check for updates.
There is another thing that you need to be aware of as not all machines that are currently running Windows 10 will be able to upgrade to Windows 11.
That’s because this new software needs something called a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip to work. This piece of hardware makes things far more secure and it seems Microsoft wants Windows 11 to be safer for people to use.
TPMs work by offering an additional layer of security on the PC itself and, with cyberattacks on the rise, it makes sense for Microsoft to beef up protection for its billions of users.
As Microsoft explains, “Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology is designed to provide hardware-based, security-related functions. A TPM chip is a secure crypto-processor that is designed to carry out cryptographic operations. The chip includes multiple physical security mechanisms to make it tamper-resistant, and malicious software is unable to tamper with the security functions of the TPM.”
To double-check if your current device can run Windows 11, you can download Microsoft’s PC Health Check App – which will let you know if your device can install and run the OS update.