Microsoft has started rolling out Windows 11, a process that will last until 2022 for PC, tablet, and device owners.
The free operating system upgrade will be available first for newer computers and devices, followed by those currently running Windows 10, the company said. Microsoft expects all eligible devices to have access to the free Windows 11 upgrade by mid-2022.
To see if your Windows 10 PC is compatible with the update, download the PC Health Check app from the Windows website. You can also check that your device is ready to be upgraded (go to Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update) and select Check for Updates. When the upgrade is complete, you will be given an option to download and install.
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Factors such as “hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, device age, and other factors that affect the upgrade experience” will affect when computers and devices are upgraded, said Aaron Woodman, general manager, Windows Marketing, in a post dated August 2021 via the software rollout.
Windows 11, which launched in June, has a sleeker look compared to previous versions. New features include support for Android apps, more detailed widgets, an update to the layouts for snapping applications to the screen, and a redesigned Microsoft Store.
New and redesigned functions – such as speech output, magnifying glass, subtitles and Windows speech recognition – are intended to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
Several notebook and tablet manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Samsung and Lenovo are said to offer new Windows 11-capable devices for sale at the start of the operating software.
According to the market research company Strategy Analytics, Windows achieved a market share of 73% of the global notebook PC market with 49.8 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2021. By comparison, Google Chrome had about 18% and MacOS (8.4%.)
“Windows continues to be an integral part of the way more than a billion people connect, learn, play and work,” said John Cable, vice president, program management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, in an online post Monday. The post also provides more information on the Windows 11 rollout and how to know when your device might get the update.
Good news for anyone looking to stick with Windows 10: Microsoft plans to support it through October 14, 2025.
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Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.