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Windows 11: Price, compatibility, release date and new features for Microsoft's big update
Windows 11 is on the way. Here are all of the new features and details about Microsoft's big update you need to know.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
June 28, 2021 10:15 a.m. PT
Windows 11 brings a new look and new features to Microsoft's operating system.
It's official: Windows 11 is on the way. At a virtual event on June 24, Microsoft unveiled "the next generation of Windows," with some big changes to the long-standing operating system, including its first name change in six years. The update comes shortly after Microsoft rolled out the latest version of Windows 10, the Windows 10 May 2021 update (also known as version 21H1).
Watch this: Windows 11: Top new features in 2021
Windows 11 includes a bunch of new features, including the ability to download and run Android apps on your Windows PC and updates to Microsoft Teams, the Start menu and the overall look of the software, which is more clean and Mac-like in design. (Here are all of our favorite new Windows 11 features and how to use them.)
Here's every detail we know so far about Windows 11, including price, compatibility, release date, how to download, new features and more.
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What new features does Windows 11 include?
Here are a few of the standout new features in Windows 11:
A new, more Mac-like interface. Windows 11 features a clean design with rounded corners, pastel shades and a centered Start menu and Taskbar.
Integrated Android apps. Android apps will be coming to Windows 11 and installable from within the new Microsoft Store via the Amazon Appstore. (There were a couple of ways to access Android apps on Windows 10, including if you had a Samsung Galaxy phone, but this will make it native.)
Widgets. While they've been around for a while (remember desktop gadgets on Windows Vista?), including in a recent Windows 10 update, you can now access widgets directly from the Taskbar and personalize them to see whatever you'd like.
Microsoft Teams integration. Teams is getting a facelift and will be integrated directly into the Windows 11 taskbar, making it easier to access (and a bit more like Apple's FaceTime). You'll be able to access teams from Windows, Mac, Android or iOS.
Xbox tech for better gaming. Windows 11 will get certain features found in Xbox consoles, like Auto HDR and DirectStorage, to improve gaming on your Windows PC.
Better virtual desktop support. Windows 11 will let you set up virtual desktops in a way that's more similar to Macs, toggling between multiple desktops at once for personal, work, school or gaming use.
Easier transition from monitor to laptop, and better multitasking. The new OS includes features called Snap Groups and Snap Layouts -- collections of the apps you're using at once that sit in the taskbar, and can come up or be minimized at the same time for easier task switching. They also let you plug and unplug from a monitor more easily, without losing where your open windows are located.
Images of Windows 11 were leaked about a week before the event, so we had an idea of some features ahead of time.
Microsoft Teams will get integrated directly into the Windows 11 taskbar, which is now centered in the display.
When is the Windows 11 release date?
Windows 11 is now available as an Insider Preview build download for those in the Windows Insider Program, and will be available as a public beta in July (here's how to download the Windows 11 beta). It will begin rolling out to all compatible PCs and new PCs around the 2021 holiday season, according to Microsoft, and will continue rolling out into 2022. However, several hints suggest that Windows 11 could arrive as early as October.
Will my computer be compatible with Windows 11?
To see if your current Windows 10 PC is eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 11, go to Microsoft's website for a list of requirements.
Originally, Microsoft was directing people to download the PC Health Check app tool to check if their machines were compatible. However, many users reported that it did not give adequate amounts of detail in terms of why a device was not compatible. On June 28, a Microsoft blog post said it was "temporarily removing the app" to address this issue, and that it would return before the fall Windows 11 release. (When it does return, we have step-by-step instructions for how to use the PC Health Check app, and what information it will give you.)
if you buy a new PC between now and the general release, that computer will also be eligible for the free upgrade.
New PCs will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 11.
How can I download Windows 11 once it's available?
Once Windows 11 becomes generally available, you'll download it the same way you would with any new version of Windows. Most users will go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for Updates. If available, you'll see Feature update to Windows 11. Click Download and install. (Here's more information on how to download Windows 11. If you haven't yet upgraded to Windows 10, you may still be able to download Windows 10 free, too -- here's how.)
Will it be free to download Windows 11?
If you're already a Windows 10 user, Windows 11 will appear as a free upgrade to your machine.
For more, check out every feature we wanted in Windows 11 but didn't get, everything to know about the most recent Windows 10 May 2021 update, the best Windows 10 hidden features we've found and six simple security changes all Windows 10 users need to make.
Introducing Windows 11
Download, ISO Windows 11 PRO ISO 64 bit Download Windows 11
A new Windows experience, bringing you closer to the people and things you love.
Get a fresh perspective
Windows 11 provides a calm and creative space where you can pursue your passions through a fresh experience. From a rejuvenated Start menu to new ways to connect to your favorite people, news, games, and content—Windows 11 is the place to think, express, and create in a natural way.
Maximize your productivity
Access all the apps you need and multi-task with ease with tools like Snap layouts, Desktops, and a new more-intuitive redocking experience.
New ways to connect
Connect instantly to the people you care about right from your desktop with Microsoft Teams. Call or chat for free—no matter what device they’re on.1
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Your content, curated by you
With Microsoft Edge and a multitude of Widgets you can choose from, you can quickly stay up to date with the news, information, and entertainment that matters most to you.2 Easily find the apps you need and the shows you love to watch in the new Microsoft Store.
Windows 11 takes gaming to a whole new level with graphic capabilities that rival reality.4 Discover your next favorite game with Xbox GamePass, giving you access to over 100 high-quality games (membership sold separately).3
A PC for each of us
The new Windows is available on the widest array of devices, from our partners who are bringing you the latest innovations in touch, pen, and voice, making it easy to find the best, most affordable device for you.4
Find the right PC for you
Need a new PC now? There are some Windows 10 PCs that can upgrade for free when Windows 11 rolls out.4 5
It’s so much easier to transfer to a new PC when you back up your files and photos from your old PC to.
Minimum system requirements
Processor 1 gigahertz (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
Minimum system requirements
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
Certain features require specific hardware, see detailed system requirements.